Where do solar panels go?
Solar panels can be fitted on all types of roof, flat, pitched or curved, on the majority of buildings, the greater the area the greater the heating potential. Ideally a roof will be south, south east or south west facing. If trees or buildings create shading the effectiveness of the system may be reduced. This can all be assessed with a site visit from one of our engineers.
How is it installed?
A qualified engineer will come to your home. They will fit panels into the roof and make the necessary connections to the location of your boiler. Our engineers and plumbers will work with you to try and make the experience easy and stress free as possible.
How are the panels fitted to the roof?
As with solar PV, Solar Thermal modules can be integrated into a new roof, retro-fit onto an existing roof, or mounted on a flat roof or ground. The panels can be fitted either horizontally or vertically based on the most productive position while taking into account the space available and the aesthetics of the panels. Determining the ideal location on your roof is a key element of successful system design and performance. Our experienced team can design a system specifically for your needs.
How long does it take to install?
This will usually only take a couple of days depending on the system requirements. Weather conditions can affect installation times, as some of the work takes place outside.
Do I need planning permission?
The Government has recently passed a “permitted development” order allowing certain microgeneration technologies to be fast-tracked through planning systems; however some local authorities still require additional details to allow you to fit a Solar Thermal system, especially in Article 4 Conservation areas or on Listed Buildings. Our in house Planning Team can make any applications on your behalf if required.
How much hot water can you expect from a Solar Thermal system?
The average UK house with a south facing roof of 30m² will be exposed to around 30,000kW/h of the sun’s radiation every year. When you compare that to the amount of energy that is used to heat the hot water for a 3-4 bed house (approximately 3,000-5,000kW/h per annum) we have far more energy than we need.
While it is technically possible to use this energy to heat all the hot water you need it’s not that straightforward because the energy is not constant. Solar thermal panels should provide most of your hot water from April to September and make a worthwhile contribution in the months on either side of that period.
How long will it take to payback the cost of the system?
Payback periods vary considerably depending on a number of factors including the type of fuel displaced and the amount of hot water you use. You may be eligible for a grant to help with the cost of a Solar Thermal system.
How long do the systems last?
Solar Thermal Systems will typically last 25+ years, depending on manufacturer.
Is the system guaranteed?
All our products come with manufacturer guarantee which lasts 5 years.
Isn’t it too cold and wet in the UK for solar water heating?
Solar Thermal systems like PV work on light not heat and your system will perform well in both direct and diffused light (through the clouds) even if it’s freezing cold. The output of the system (or temperatures reached) will be lower during the winter months; however this will be due to less daylight hours and intensity of sunlight rather than the effect of winter weather.
Are there grants available for solar thermal installations?
The government Renewable Heat Premium Payment is available with a grant of £300. We are expecting the Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) to come into effect in the summer of 2013.
How much energy will the solar panels output?
Our solar thermal installations typically have an output between 1000 and 2000 kWh dependant on the application and the system that is implemented.
Is there any maintenance or servicing requirements?
A monthly visual check is advisable ensuring that the panels are kept relatively clean and that shade from trees or other obstructions has not become a problem. This is particularly the case in periods of limited rain fall. To clean your system it is as easy as turning the hose pipe on for a quick rinse, but usually the rainfall in the UK is enough to keep them tidy. It is also advised that the integrity of the system should be checked and tested every 5 years which our team will undertake.
Is the work checked/tested?
Your system will be fully tested and commissioned to our high standards before our experienced technicians will sign it off as complete.
Do I need to replace my hot water cylinder?
In most households the cylinders do not have a spare heating coil in their cylinder which means we would usually need to replace the existing cylinder. We also do not want to compromise the efficiency and output of the solar system therefore we would in most cases replace the cylinder.
How do I use the system most efficiently?
To obtain maximum benefit from a Solar Thermal system, continue to use your domestic hot water as normal. Our team will make sure the operation of the Solar Thermal system works to maximum efficiency after installation.
During the months of the year when additional heating is necessary, you should set your heating to come on towards the end of the day. This will allow the Solar Thermal system to put as much heat into the domestic hot water cylinder as possible.
What is the cost of installing a typical Solar Thermal system?
Prices for Solar Hot Water Systems vary depending on size to be installed, product manufacturer, and the type of building on which a system is mounted.
The size of the system is dictated by the hot water usage and storage capacity. Most domestic systems usually include 2 – 3 solar panels with a 200-300 litre domestic hot water cylinder.
Can solar panels add value to my property?
Yes. Energy saving improvements have been shown to make your home more valuable. A recent survey by MORI found out that people are willing to pay up to £10,000 more for a home built to high environmental standards, and estate agents are now de-valuing homes for sale with poor “Energy Assessments” results due to HIP (Home Information Packs) reports.