The use of solar radiation has been used as an energy source for years now as a form of heating for both your home and your water. This isn’t to be confused with solar photovoltaics which are used to produce electrical energy using the sunlight.
Solar water heating systems utilise solar panels, otherwise known as “collectors”, that are fitted onto your roof to gather and store energy provided by the sun. The stored energy is then used to heat up water that is stored within a hot water cylinder, with a boiler or immersion heater able to be used as a back-up to heat the water further during colder and darker periods or to reach the desired temperature.
Unlike fossil fuels, solar energy is practically available worldwide to a near unlimited scale and is completely free of charge. Nearly every modern heating system can be integrated for use with solar panels, making solar heating systems for the heating of hot water or to feed extra heat into your heating circuit.
Currently, there are two types of solar water heating panels, these are;
- Evacuated tubes
- Flat plate collectors (commonly what people think of when they hear the phrase solar panels)
Larger solar panels are also available and can be used to provide a contribution to heating your home as well as the water, however the amount of heat provided is generally considered to not be worthwhile.
By being able to provide up to approximately 70% of the hot water supply to a household using free energy from the sun, a solar water heating system can reduce your annual energy bills. Solar water heating systems can also earn you extra money for every unit of renewable energy that you generate under the Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) scheme offered by the government.
- You can get endless amounts of energy, free of charge
- No CO2 emissions at all during its operating life
- Reduce your consumption of fossil fuels
- Solar thermal systems and solar water heating systems can be integrated into your existing energy system
- Modern solar systems work efficiently, even during darker winter months