Solar Thermal Guide: Make The Best Decision

Are you thinking about getting a solar thermal system installed in your home? Compare British Solar Thermal Prices and Quality.

Solar energy is a flexible source of renewable energy, it is an eco-friendly solution and has multiple economic benefits. The solar energy has been a renewable energy source on Earth forever, but there is still plenty of things that we don’t know about it.

What’s in this guide?

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With solar thermal, you can use the solar energy for water heating. In general solar panels and solar thermal can be used for a variety of things. The sunlight can be used for heat and electricity generation but in both cases to generate electricity, you will have to use solar panels, which are also called photovoltaics or solar PV. However, to heat water used for household purposes, you will need solar thermals.


What Are Solar Thermals?

A solar thermal system is a type of solar collector that converts sunlight into heat. This heat is then used provide hot water. The principle of the work of solar thermal is similar to a car parked in the sun on a hot day. However, the heat collected by the solar thermal can be used for practical purposes, such as heating water or space.

So, unlike the solar panels which convert solar energy into electricity, solar thermal system convert sunlight into heat. It can be a practical alternative to a thermodynamic heating system which uses air to generate heat that warms the water. However, both of these systems are effective for utilising renewable energy and help you lower the environmental impact by reducing the carbon dioxide emissions.

Solar Thermal System Types

There are a range of different options when deciding on which type of solar thermal system to opt for. Here’s a quick run down of the basic types.

Flat Plate Collectors

Flat plate collectors have a lower initial cost but on the other hand don’t heat the water as well as the evacuated tube collectors. There flat and boxy in appearance and are suitable for installation both in-roof and off-roof.

Evacuated Tube Collectors

This is a more expensive system to install, but works better in climates like the UK as they have a higher efficiency and work better on cloudy days. Due to the way the panels are structured, they are really only suitable for roofs.

Solar Thermal Collectors & Application Temperature

There are three types of solar thermal collectors: low-temperaturemedium-temperature and high-temperature. Low-temperature collectors are usually flat plates and are commonly used for heating swimming pools.

Medium temperature collectors are also designed as flat plates, but their capacity allows the generation of enough heat to warm water or air in residential and commercial premises.

Finally, high-temperature collectors are the most efficient system that uses mirrors or lenses to attract the sunlight and is designed to provide a high volume of heat for industrial purposes and production of electric power.


How Solar Thermal Hot Water Systems Work

Typically, solar water heating systems use the collectors that are installed on the roof of the household and attract the sunlight. Other collectors are usually designed in the form of a flat plate or evacuated tube. Once the collector attracts the sun rays, the temperature of the water inside can rise up to 90 degrees Celsius.

After the hot water is transferred from the collector to the buffer storage tank and vice versa. For domestic use, hot water is transferred through the pipes. On average, a solar thermal can provide about one-third of the hot water supply for a family of four.

Solar Thermal: Advantages

The owner of a solar thermal system can benefit from multiple advantages whether it is used for residential or commercial purposes. If you install a reliable solar heating system, you will find out shortly how many more advantages it has over other heating systems such as electric or fossil fuel based ones.

Below is the list of principle benefits of a solar thermal system:

With solar thermal, you can reduce your heating bills. If you use thermal energy of sunlight for water heating, your electricity and heating utility bills will reduce significantly. Solar energy is a free renewable energy source. Therefore, as soon as solar thermal is ready to use, you will start saving money on utility bills right away. This savings will appear even more worthwhile when the fossil fuel prices rise.

Solar thermal doesn’t involve much maintenance. You only have to maintain it every 3 to 5 years.

Solar thermal is eco-friendly. Since this system uses only solar energy, it doesn’t produce any carbon dioxide emissions. Therefore, with solar thermal, you will reduce your carbon footprint.


With solar thermal, you can have eternal energy. Since the primary source used by solar thermal is the energy of the sun, you will always have an unlimited amount of energy available and free.

Solar Thermal: Disadvantages

But it’s not all good news, as with all renewable energy sources, there are some significant drawbacks.

Thermal solar technology and systems have become much more affordable in recent years but the initial out lay is still a deterrent for many. And until the UK rolls out a nationwide feed-in-tariff system like the UK, the upfront costs will put off many.

Modern thermal solar systems can work effectively on the diffused light found on cloudy days, but at reduced efficiencies. Many homes will still need a boiler for the winter months.

Solar thermal panels need space on a southerly facing roof and the higher your hot water and energy needs are, the more space you’ll need. Some houses just aren’t suitable for solar thermal due to a lack of space.

You can place the panels in a garden or yard but again, not everyone has this space.

Despite thermal solar panels association with being green and eco-friendly, it’s not carbon neutral. The production, transportation and installation of these systems all leave a carbon footprint.

So whilst you are reducing your negative impact on the environment, it’s not carbon neutral.

The Cost of Solar Thermal System

There are a few factors that influence the cost of a solar thermal system. First of all, it will depend on the type of system and the quality of its components, also, the expenses for professional planning will be involved. Besides, it will depend on what kind of system you currently have and how easy it will be for you to integrate the solar thermal installation into it.

The average estimated costs can range between £3,900 and £5,000 for a family of two or six accordingly. There may be additional costs involved such as planning, installing new cylinders, etc. These costs are not included in the average estimation.

Last Updated on September 28, 2021


Author: Indra Gupta

Indra is an in-house writer with a love of Newcastle United and all things sustainable.

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