Solar Thermal panels harvest the power of the sun through a collector on your roof in a similar fashion to solar PV panels. But instead of turning it into electricity, they use glycol to transfer the heat generated into a hot water cylinder where it is stored for use.
With energy prices at record levels, they can really help to bring down your hot water bills and also generate you an income through the RHI scheme. A solar thermal system can typically meet 60-70% of your annual hot water needs in a domestic setting but they also offer commercial buildings such as hotels a great saving too. They can even heat your swimming pool.
As with all solar technologies they should be mounted south facing with no shading on the array and on an inclination of 30 degrees for optimal results but it is not essential.
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Reasons to install a solar thermal system
- The most accessible and cost effective renewable technology available giving the biggest reductions in both your fuel bills and carbon footprint per pound spent
- Requires much less roof space then PV
- Sunlight is free so once installed, your hot water costs will be reduced
- By off-setting use of fossil fuels with solar thermal you will reduce the amount of carbon dioxide emissions being released into the atmosphere which is the principal contributing factor to climate change
- Our MCS accredited systems qualify for the Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) which means you will receive Index Linked, Tax Free, Government Backed payments for the energy you generate
- RHI tariff lasts for 7 years domestic and 20 years commercial
- Limit your reliance on energy suppliers and their ever increasing prices
- Long system life with minimum maintenance
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Do I need planning permission?
Installations are usually covered by permitted development rights meaning planning permission is not required. Some exceptions to this rule are for listed buildings, conservation areas, national parks etc. It is always advisable to contact your Local Authority prior to installing a system to be sure
How much maintenance is required?
Typically you will need to have a system serviced annually by a qualified engineer and the glycol changed every 5 years
What is the RHI?
The Renewable Heat Incentive (or RHI for short) is a government backed scheme aimed at encouraging the installation of renewable heating systems by paying an attractive financial sum to the owner over a number of years\
How much space is required?
On top of the roof space required for the collectors, you will need a suitable thermal store or cylinder to store the generated hot water in.
Is my roof suitable?
For optimal performance you should have a South facing roof on a 30 degree pitch with no shading however; slightly shaded or East/West facing systems still generate a substantial amount of energy.Although solar thermal systems are unlikely to be heavy enough to cause structural problems, if your roof is in poor condition we would recommend that you undertake a structural survey before proceeding with your installation. If your roof is in need of repair or replacement we would recommend combining this work with your solar thermal installation as this will help to reduce costs.