Simply put, solar thermal hot water systems harness the power of the sun and convert it into heat you can use in your hot water system. The technology has been developed for years and, due to several government-funded schemes, solar panels have become a more popular option for households across the UK.
- Heat is absorbed by the solar thermal panels installed, ideally on a south- or west-facing roof or flat space.
- Heat is stored in a hot water cylinder, much the same as with a traditional boiler system.
- Heat is distributed throughout your home from the cylinder to your radiators in a continual cycle of re-heating.
Types of Solar Panels for Hot Water Systems
Collectors for solar thermal hot water systems come in two forms – either evacuated tubes or flat plate collectors.
Evacuated tubes are the more expensive choice but they’re also more efficient, so if you’re looking for this to be your main, long-term hot water system, it’s probably worth the extra investment. Evacuated tubes are double layer tubes – usually glass – which creates a vacuum to absorb heat from the sun. The core of copper pipe runs water through the tube, which is heated by the collected solar energy and back to the hot water cylinder ready to be distributed around your home.
Flat plate collectors are larger single panels, relying on a large coverage and dark colour to absorb the most solar energy. Piping, filled with water, runs underneath the surface of the panel to absorb the heat and flow back into the hot water cylinder for storage and use.
Do Solar Hot Water Systems Work in the UK?
A common misconception is that it has to be sunny all the time for solar panels to be productive. However, solar panels are a viable option for your hot water system in our temperate climate, especially if you have an area of over 5sqm, in a south- or west-facing direction. If necessary, you can top up the heat you need with a secondary source throughout the winter months.
To find out more about solar thermal hot water systems or to arrange a quote for your home or business, contact Aquaserve today.