Solar Hot Water
By Chris Bradshaw on June 7th, 2011
Solar water heating – not to be confused with s solar pv technology – relies on heat energy from the Sun which is collected via flat plate or evacuated tube solar collector and used to supplement conventional domestic water heating.
Solar water heating has been available in the United Kingdom for over 30 years and is a tried and tested technology with a wide choice of equipment.
Solar water heating panels or collectors are typically mounted at an angle of between 20°and 50° on a roof facing south, southeast or southwest.
A surface area of between 2m2 and 5m2 free from shade is required for a solar water heating system to function adequately in most cases. Water in the panels is heated by the Sun and – in a so-called “indirect” solar water heating system – flows into a coil in a hot water cylinder. Heat energy is transferred to the water in the cylinder and hot water is stored for subsequent use.
Solar water heating can provide between 30% and 70% of the hot water required in a typical domestic dwelling over the course of a year and may reduce annual water heating bills by £50 or more and reduce carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions by 400kg or more.
Installation costs for solar water heating systems vary depending on the type and size of the collector(s) employed, existing hot water system etc. but a professional contractor should be able to advise you on the best system to suit your needs.