You can improve the way in which your home is heated, just by making some subtle adjustments…
What is a solar hot water system?
Often referred to as solar thermal systems, solar hot water systems make use of the sun’s energy to provide hot water for homes, through taps and showers. The amount of usable solar energy varies, depending on the climate. This means that you probably won’t be able to produce a consistent amount of hot water all year round. Therefore, it’s probably wise to combine your solar hot water system, with a regular boiler or immersion heater to ensure you get sufficient hot water.
It’s possible to acquire a larger solar hot water system to provide heating for your home. However, this isn’t usually considered worthwhile, as it only results in a minuscule contribution.
How do solar hot water systems work?
Solar hot water systems use solar collectors to gather energy. There are two types of solar collectors that can be used to do this. One of these is evacuated tubes, which are put together as a bank of glass tubes mounted on the roof. The second option is flat plate collectors, which can either be fixed on the roof tiles or integrated into the roof.
The role of a solar collector is to convert the infra-red part of light into heat. They tend to be filled with a mixture of water and glycol, which is pumped around a circuit, before passing through the hot water cylinder.
What are the benefits of a solar hot water system?
A solar hot water system will only provide a small portion of your home’s hot water during the winter. However, in the summer months, it will be able to satisfy nearly all of your hot water requirements. During the periods of the year, when your solar hot water system can’t generate enough hot water, it can be paired with a boiler or immersion heater. Although, you’ll still be reliant on an energy supplier to top up your hot water, your energy bills will be reduced. This is because most of your energy will be attained from the sun, which is free. Additionally, as the sun’s energy is a source of renewable energy, you’ll be lowering your home’s carbon emissions.
What’s the difference between solar PV and solar hot water systems?
Solar panels and solar water heaters are two separate systems, that both work by absorbing sunlight. However, apart from feeding on the sun’s energy and being located on the roof, they’re actually quite different.
For a start, solar panels use the photovoltaic effect, which is a process that produces electrical energy. Solar panels are usually made out of silicon, which is a semiconductor material. With the purpose of creating an electric field, they have two layers, one of which is positive and one negative. A solar PV system has the capacity to produce either some or all of a home’s electricity, depending on the size of the property and system.
On the other hand, solar hot water systems don’t produce electricity. Instead of turning sunlight into energy, they turn it into heat, through the use of a solar collector.
Homeowners are still able to get a FREE boiler grant or insulation grant via the ECO scheme, which is still available to households that qualify. Warma UK are currently working throughout the UK helping privately owned and rented homes to improve home energy efficiency and save money on rising energy bills.
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