Solar water heating systems take advantage of the sun's natural energy to warm domestic hot water. When solar energy is unavailable a conventional boiler or immersion heater is then used to raise the temperature of the water.
Working silently and not emitting any harmful pollutions, a solar thermal system will reduce your carbon footprint and increase your homes 'green' contribution to the environment. Each solar thermal system comprises of three component parts – the 'Solar Collector', 'Solar Circuit' and the 'Hot Water Cylinder'.
The solar collector draws energy from natural sunlight and transfers this energy to the fluid in the solar circuit pipes that flow through them. The circuit transfers the hot fluid to the hot water cylinder through a heat exchange coil and the heat is transferred to the domestic hot water supply. Your boiler acts as a secondary source and tops up your cylinder as required.
The panels used for solar thermal systems are either evacuated tubes or flat plates. Evacuated tube solar panels are more efficient than the flat plates but for this efficiency your collectors will be more costly (approx 15% more than the flat plate design).
Flat solar panels are often preferred because of their less obtrusive look to your property. Solar panels are compatible with other forms of heating. Popular coupling can be made to air and ground source heat pumps.
Not being a primary heating source, solar thermal systems can be added at any time. For example a solar coil cylinder can be put in during the fitting of a heat pump with the intention of adding solar panels at a future date.