What are the Key Benefits of a Solar Thermal System
Solar Thermal panels provide a range of benefits as follows:
- Lower Fuel Bills – Solar thermal panels should provide 90% of your hot water from April/May to September/October, and make a 30% contribution in the remainder of the year. Annually that works out to be 60% – 80% of your hot water.
- They will provide you with an income through the government’s Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI).
- They are a ‘fit and forget’ technology which requires little or no maintenance.
- Low costs hot water all year round.
- Solar Thermal systems work throughout the year.
How much you actually benefit depends on:
- How well you use your solar gain i.e. having baths / showers in the evening rather than the morning.
- Storage, storage, storage – the size of your cylinder. The bigger the better. Most cylinders are sized only hold sufficient water for a day, so a day or two of cloud and rain will mean you have to turn on the boiler or immersion heater whereas a large cylinder will store water for two or three days.
- How you use existing boiler. Your solar control panel should allow you to programme the hot water and central heating separately, thus you will get the maximum benefit from the solar panels when the heating is turned on by only boosting the hot water once the sun has gone down, you maximise opportunity for solar heating.
- Insulation, insulation, insulation of the cylinder and the pipes carrying hot water. It is all about stopping heat waste and storing heat from rainy cloudy days.
- Reduce the temperature you need. Most cylinders have a “blender valve” to blend in cold water with your hot water so that you do not burn yourself. If you reduce the temperature the system will not call for back up from your main boiler so often. However, it is important to make sure your cylinder reaches more than 60 degrees centigrade at least once a week to avoid risk of Legionella.