Solar Thermal or Solar PV? Solar Thermal Explained
Solar thermal energy is using the energy from the sun to heat water for your home. A conventional boiler or immersion heater can be used to make the water hotter, or to provide hot water when solar energy is unavailable.
The benefits of solar water heating:
- Hot water throughout the year – the system works all year round, but 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.
Solar water heating systems can achieve savings on your energy bills. Based on the results of our recent field trial, typical savings from a well-installed and properly used system are £60 per year when replacing gas heating and £70 per year when replacing electric immersion heating; however, savings will vary from user to user.
|Existing system||Savings per year||Carbon dioxide savings per year|
You may be able to receive payments for the heat you generate from a solar water heating system through the government’s Renewable Heat Incentive.
|Household size||RHI income per year|
|2 person household||£190|
|3 person household||£260|
|4 person household||£330|
|5 person household||£425|
|6 person household||£460|
From August 2011, you may be able to get help with the installation costs of a new solar water heating system through the Renewable Heat Premium Payment scheme, payments will vary according to the number of people living in the property.
Maintaining your solar water heating system is generally very low. Most systems come with a five-year or ten-year warranty and require little maintenance. The only important thing you should check for yourself from time to time is whether there are any leaks. If there are any leaks of anti-freeze (even if you can’t see any liquid) this will have a strong smell.
In general you should keep an eye on your system to check that it is doing what it has been designed to do. If you are not getting hot water or the solar pipework is cold (when the pump is running) on warm, sunny days then again you should contact your installer. For peace of mind some installation companies offer an annual service checked by an accredited installer every 3 – 7 years.
For more information please visit the Energy Savings Trust website.