Solar Water Heating

By Rebecca Fox on November 17th, 2015

Solar water heating is regarded as one of the major alternative energy players for the future. It’s a sustainable energy source, will work for most homes and can provide your household with its required hot water for the majority of the year.

Solar water heating panels

The system uses solar panels, referred to as collectors, which you have fitted to the roof of your home. These solar panels collect heat from the sun during the day to heat water which is then stored in a hot water cylinder ready for use.

There are currently two types of solar water heating collectors that you attach to the roof. Either a flat plate collector, which look like more traditional solar panels, or evacuated tube collectors which is a line of tubing attached together.


Benefits of solar water heating

Reduce your energy bills

A solar thermal system will provide your household with hot water throughout the year. It won’t be a completely independent system though as it will need a boiler or immersion-heater through the winter months to guarantee you have hot enough water all year round. Despite this, having a solar water heater installed will definitely cut the cost of your household bills.

Minimal running costs

The cost of running a solar water heating system is low, with maintenance checks being the only real cost after the price of the system itself and the installation work, because sunlight is of course free.

Using renewable energy

You get peace of mind knowing that the system doesn’t release any CO2 emissions and is completely renewable – making it a favourite for green enthusiasts.

Benefit from the Renewable Heat incentive (RHI)

Flat plate or evacuated tube solar thermal system owners can benefit from the government’s Renewable Heat Incentive. Under this scheme you can earn payments over a number of years just for installing a renewable heating technology!


Considerations of having a solar water heating system

Panel location

You must have somewhere on the roof of your house that gets a lot of sunlight. You’ll need about five metres square of flat roof space which faces east to west through south and is subject to direct sunlight for the majority of the day. If this isn’t possible then you can have two separate panels attached to your home, one facing east and one facing west, but it would hike up the price of installation. The panels don’t necessarily have to be fitted directly onto a roof – they can be mounted on a frame.

Adding a new hot water cylinder

One consideration you have to take into mind is allocating space to a larger, or another, hot water cylinder in your home. When installing you’ll need to replace the existing cylinder you have for one with a solar heating coil or have an additional cylinder just for your solar heating system.

Boiler compatibility

You should check to see if your current boiler is compatible with solar water heating systems. Combi boiler systems where you don’t have a hot water tank may not be compatible, so you’ll need to look into this.

You may need planning permission

Whilst it’s unlikely that a modern home will have any issues, it’s worth consulting your local planning office to ensure you don’t need any sort of planning permission to go ahead with fitting a system.

Although there are a few considerations you need to make when it comes to the installation of solar water heating, a qualified solar installer will be able to advise you on the best options so that you can make the most of your new system.

Earn over £1,000 per year via the Feed-in Tariff

Save up to £200 per year with a Solar PV (photovoltaic) installationDid you know that a Solar PV system can reduce your energy bills but also make you money by selling any unused energy back to the grid?

This not only helps you financially but also the environment by lowering your CO2 emissions by up to 1000kg p/a.



Ask a question

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About the Solar Feed-In Tariff

The Feed-In Tariff applies to Solar PV (electricity) systems

Calculate SavingsSolar PV Calculator

About the Renewable Heat Incentive

The Renewable Heat Incentive applies to Solar Thermal (hot water) systems


Did you know?

Earn Money via the Feed-In TarrifThe Government's Feed-In Tariff was launched on April 1st 2010 to encourage homeowners to generate their own electricity - it is split into two methods of revenue.

The Generation Tariff earns you a fixed income for every kilowatt hour of electricity you generate. And, The Export Tariff earns you income for every kilowatt hour you generate and sell back to the grid.

An average 3/4 bedroom house fitted with 2.5kw Solar PV panels and normal electricity usage would earn over £850 p/a tax free!

Add this to an approximate £145 reduction in your electricity usage and you could benefit by over £1,000 per year.

Try our Solar PV Feed-In Tariff Calculator to assess your potential payback.

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