A typical solar thermal water heating system costs around £4,800 (including VAT at 5%). This includes installation and the cost of a new hot water cylinder.
No. They work by absorbing radiation from the sun and are effective even on cloudy days. They also work throughout the year, though you will need the boost of a boiler or immersion heater during the winter months. On many summer days they will supply all of a household’s hot water needs.
Yes. Thermal panels come in two types: the less efficient but cheaper “flat plate” systems, which have a large absorber plate covered by a transparent cover, and the more efficient but also more expensive “evacuated tube” systems, which have rows of glass tubes that each contain an absorber plate.
Yes. In June 2011, the Government is launching the Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI), a new scheme to support the generation of heat from renewable sources. Under the RHI, you will receive regular payments over the whole lifetime of your solar thermal system, based on the (estimated, or “deemed”) amount of heat produced. The government will announce details about payment rates soon. There are also grants and discounts to help with energy efficiency measures. The Energy Saving Trust has a simple questionnaire here that will tell you what schemes you are eligible for.
That depends on what you want to produce – hot water or electricity. A solar thermal system heats water. A solar photovoltaic system generates electricity. It is possible to successfully use both types of system in a home
If you move house, it is difficult to take your solar thermal panels with you, but solar thermal hot water systems add to the value of your house because the new homeowner can benefit from lower energy bills and RHI payments.
No. It simply isn’t cost-effective. No matter how big your solar thermal panel array was, in winter – when you need your heating the most – the sun in the UK cannot provide enough heat.
Because both technologies use the sun’s energy and involve panels on roofs, the two are easily confused.
Solar thermal panels use sunlight to heat water for showers, baths and taps.
Solar photovoltaic panels convert sunlight directly into electricity.
Because the government wants homeowners to invest in renewable energy technology, at the moment the rate of VAT is just 5%. For new buildings, no VAT is applied.
**About 25 years. Ace Energy solar thermal systems have a 10-year guarantee.**
No. Though most effective during the summer months, they will heat water anywhere in the UK.
This depends on how much room you have. You need enough space for either a larger twin coil cylinder or for an additional dedicated solar cylinder. Twin coil cylinders have two heat exchanger coils – one for the boiler and one for the solar thermal panels.
No at all. They can be mounted on a frame in the garden, for instance, or on a wall. For the best performance, they should tilted at an angle of 30-45 degrees from the horizontal.
Very little. You should take a look at your panels every year or so to sweep off leaves and to wash off any grime with warm soapy water. They should checked by accredited installer every 3-5 years to ensure everything is in top working order.
You’ll need 3-5 square metres of unshaded space facing between south-east and south-west, enough space for a larger or additional hot water cylinder, and either a conventional boiler with a hot water cylinder or a combination boiler that is compatible with solar thermal.
Check with the manufacturer or call Ace Energy.