It may be hard to believe sometimes, but there's more than enough sun in this country to use solar water heating panels. Solar panels only require solar radiation to work, not direct sunlight.
The energy used to produce hot water accounts for c20% of a household's gas or oil bill. A solar heating system, which collects energy from the sun and converts it to useable hot water, can substantially reduce this.
Solar heating systems are able to produce almost all of a homes hot water needs in the summer, and a proportion in the winter.
They are a useful and tried & tested method of reducing energy bills and can reduce carbon emissions by up to 0.75 tonnes annually for a typical house.
So, rain or shine, they're a great source of hot water all year round. Installing solar water heating panels in a standard three or four bedroom house can meet up to 50% of your hot water needs - saving you money on your energy bills.
There are different types of solar heat collectors for your roof
Flat-Plate solar collectors
These are the most common form of solar collector. They are a flat-plate systems that consist of an insulated metal box with glazing and a specially coated dark absorber panel.
The Flat-Plate solar collectors are mounted on to a pitched roof. The energy from the sun is collected by the absorber panel and transferred to a series of pipes containing a water / glycol mix. This heats up the fluid. The hot fluid is the pumped through the coils of a hot water cylinder and heats up clean water that provides the baths, showers and taps.
Fiat-plate collectors are a popular choice due to their low profile, appearance and cost and whilst they provide good efficiency in summer. However, in the cooler months their efficiency dramatically reduces.
These solar collectors have a number of glass evacuated tubes (heat pipes). These heat pipes fit into a manifold where the energy is transferred to a water /glycol mix. This heats up the fluid. The hot fluid is the pumped through the coils of a hot water cylinder and heats up clean water that provides the baths, showers and taps.
The tubular profile of each tube means that they collect more of the sun's energy throughout the day. The absorbent coatings and vacuum help to further maximise the efficiency and reduce heat loss.
Evacuated tubes have a longer life and generally provide higher efficiencies than flat-plate collectors. They are also more efficient in the winter. However, they are more expensive and have a higher profile on the roof.
Solar Thermal Slates
Solar Thermal Slates are designed as an alternative or replacement for conventional roof tiles or slates.
Solar Thermal Slates produce solar heated water which can be used for hot water, space heating and heating swimming pools. The slates are of toughened glass and so are extremely durable, and are compatible with conventional roof slates. Systems may be installed with a standard wall mounted solar pump station, or a custom installation to suit space and pool heating applications.