Solar hot water

Image Description It’s easy to see how the sun can generate enough energy to provide hot water on a hot sunny day, but did you know that modern solar panels work very efficiently in diffused light? So much so that solar can provide up to 70% of your annual hot water requirements. All that is needed is a south facing roof for optimum exposure, although any roof orientation from east through to west can be utilised effectively.

So, how does solar technology work?

Solar panels absorb and harness the suns rays, which heats an absorber plate. This heat is collected in a transfer liquid which is in turn used in a heat exchanger to heat water.

Do I still need a boiler?

As mentioned above, up to 70% of your annual hot water may be provided by your solar system. However, due to the lower intensity of the sun and shorter daylight hours during the winter months the solar gain is reduced, and therefore a boiler or alternative method is required to provide for this shortfall.

Will I need a water cylinder?

The way in which solar works means a water cylinder is required for storge of the heated water. This can be installed in vaious areas of the property, and if you have an existing cylinder this will need to be replaced by a twin coil cylinder to accomodate the solar and your existing method of hot water provision.

Is there any funding available?

The Department of Trade and Industry is funding an initiative called the Low Carbon Building Programme which entitles homeowners and not-for-profit organisations to apply for financial help with a solar system when installed by an approved installer. Assistance is also available through Severn Wye Energy Agency (see our external links), who can provide funding to anyone with a GL postcode.

In addition. you can apply to your local authority\council for a local authorty grant towards the cost of your installation (see renewable energy schemes link) You could benefit from subtantial funding from all of the above mentioned organisations collectively.