Solar Hot Water Systems

April 7th, 2010 by grimmo Leave a reply »

Solar hot water systems work alongside your conventional water heater to provide hot water, and could save you up to 70% on your water heating. The UK receives about 65% of the solar radiation levels experienced in Spain, more than enough to make a solar hot water system extremely viable. Technical advances in the design and manufacture of solar panels means that today’s systems are more efficient, maximising the use of the sun’s rays.

Schematic of a system for solar heating of water

A solar hot water system (above) uses solar collectors—panels or tubes—to collect the sun’s energy which is used to heat a fluid. A pump then circulates this fluid and transfers the heat into your hot water cylinder. The price of an installation is affected by factors such as cylinder size, number of collectors and location, but a typical installation costs between £4,000 and £6,000 and will normally be installed within 48 hours.

If the government meet their target of having solar thermal systems in 7 million homes by 2020, it will save approximately 595 million tonnes of CO2. That’s equal to 1,162,109 return flights to New York, 485 flights around the world or 4 times the amount of CO2 used by the entire UK in a year.

A solar hot water system could also earn you money in the long run. In February 2010 the Department for Energy and Climate Change published a consultation on the introduction of a Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) scheme, which it aims to introduce in April 2011. The scheme would support a range of technologies, including solar hot water systems and would work in a similar way to the feed in tariffs for photovoltaic systems. After you install a renewable heat system an estimate is made on how much heat your system will produce and you will get paid a fixed amount based on that estimate.

The payment under the renewable energy scheme could be up to 18p/kWhr for the hot water and heat you generate and use yourself. It is estimated that you will earn enough money from the tariffs to pay off the installation costs in about 7-9 years, making it a potentially attractive proposition for homeowners.

(If you require any further information regarding renewable energy installations you can contact Martin Grimsley at Homestyle Solar Solutions on 01993 703 187.)

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1 comment

  1. Kevin says:

    The Renewable Heat Incentive scheme is worth a look from the point of view of wood stoves too – biofuel in the form of logs plays a large role in West Oxon’s carbon reduction strategy, as we saw in the recent planning document we responded to.

    And “…any system that was installed after July 15th 2009 will be able to claim the Renewable Heat Incentive when it goes live.”

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