Solar water heating uses solar panels attached to your roof by collecting heat from the sun to warm water stored in a hot water cylinder. A conventional boiler of immersion heater will provide hot water when solar energy is unavailable or when the solar water cylinder does not reach the temperature set on the thermostat. (The cylinder thermostat should be set at 60 degrees centigrade).
There are two types of solar water heating panels; they are evacuated tubes and flat plate collectors. Flat plate’s collectors can be fixed on the roof tiles or integrated into the roof.
The benefits of solar water heating
- Hot water throughout the year: the system works all year round, though you’ll need to heat the water further with a boiler or immersion heater during the winter months.
- Cut your bills: sunlight is free, so once you’ve paid for the initial installation your hot water costs will be reduced.
- Cut your carbon footprint: solar hot water is a green, renewable heating system and can reduce your carbon dioxide emissions
Cost and savings
Costs for a typical solar water heating system is around £4,800 (inc VAT at 5%).
Savings are moderate – a solar water heating system can reduce your water heating bill by between £50 and £85 per year. It will also save up to 570kg of CO2 emissions, depending on what fuel you will be replacing. There is a Renewable Heat Incentive which can offer more savings (Hyperlink through to RHI page).
Maintenance costs are very low. Most solar water heating systems come with a 5-10 year warranty and require little maintenance. You should take a look at your panels every year and have them checked more thoroughly by an accredited installer every 3-5 years, or as specified by your installer.