Find out why more and more people are turning to solar water heating to reduce their bills and help the environment. Solar energy is a highly valuable natural energy source which is eco-friendly, renewable, free and efficient. With the help of different technologies that have been developed, we are now able to utilise the energy of the sun. Most commonly known solar technology is solar panels which are used to generate electricity from solar energy.
However, the technologies that collect and process the energy of the sun are not limited to solar panels. Solar water heating is a different system which provides the opportunity to generate the energy of the sun into heating to warm up water and living space. All the solar technologies are environmentally friendly and can be used right after installation providing free energy. If you are considering installing a solar water heating system, the comprehensive information provided in this article may help you make the right decision.
What is Solar Water Heating System
A solar water heating system collects the sunlight and generates heat to produce hot water used in residential or commercial areas. It is also known as a solar thermal hot water heating system. This technology is Eco-friendly and uses a renewable energy source. Therefore, if you decide to install a solar water heating system for domestic use, your carbon footprint will reduce. There are different types of solar water heating panels: flat plates and evacuated tube collectors. They can be installed either on your roof or on your wall. Usually, these solar heating systems can be combined with other hot water systems that you may use in your house.
A solar water heating system can provide about 1/3 of the water supply for a household with four people. For example, a solar water heating system designed for a semi-detached house with three bedrooms can help you save £55 to £80 on your water heating bills every year. Besides, there are grants available for the owners of solar water heating systems which can provide financial aid for the households that use renewable energy source.
The grant is calculated based on the size of your household taking into account not the actual number of occupants but the maximum number of residents that could live in your house. You can apply for this grant if you are a homeowner or a landlord of a house that was built and occupied before 2011.
The Way Solar Water Heating Systems Work
Solar water heating systems use solar collectors which collect the sunlight energy. The best place to install the solar collectors is the roof because there the most sunlight will be attracted to the collectors. It is also possible to install them on a south-facing wall or on the ground. However, it is essential to ensure that they are situated at the location that is exposed to the sun the most. If you would like to increase the temperature of the water produced in your household, you can use an additional heater with your solar water heating systems such as a boiler or an immersion heater. The solar thermal collectors come in two types: flat plate collectors and evacuated tubes.
Most of all they are different on their aesthetics. However, their performance is very much alike. The flat plates are combined of hot water solar panels and flat glazing, and the evacuated tubes use the vacuum tubes mounted into a manifold. Both types are installed on the roof. Together with the collector, you will need to install well-insulated pipes connected to a hot water cylinder. You can use the cylinder you currently have in your household or install a new one. Cold water from the cylinder is transferred through the collector, where it’s being heated and then circulates to the hot water storage.
The Advantages of Solar Water Heating Systems
There are multiple advantages to solar water heaters, and below we have listed a few of them:
- With solar water heaters, you can have hot water all year around.
- You will be able to reduce your utility bills since solar water heater will provide one-third of your hot water supply.
- Every year you can save from 230 kilos to 510 kilos of carbon dioxide. Therefore, you will reduce your carbon footprint.
- Compared to other renewable energy systems, solar water heating systems are highly durable and involve low-maintenance and running costs, with the warranty available for 5 to 10 years.
- Since solar water heaters use solar energy, you will not face high additional costs after covering the initial investment for the installation. It will only involve the amount of electricity used for the pump operation that powers the system.
- The solar thermal system can be easily combined with any other existing heating systems, such as hot water boilers or even heat pumps.
- With a solar thermal system, you can qualify for a grant which will help you reduce the expenses.
Prices and Savings on Solar Thermal Systems
With a variety of types of solar water heaters, the exact price of the system is hard to estimate. However, depending on the size of your property and whether you need an additional water cylinder, the price may range between £3,000 and £5,000. With solar thermal systems, you can also save on your energy bills. If you switch from a gas heating system, you can save up to £60 per year, or £70 if you switch from an electric heating system. These numbers are estimated for a properly insulated house, where the system is used correctly. However, the amount you can save can vary.