Hot water for free with a solar thermal system
Solar thermal panels use the sun's energy to heat water in a tank. Using efficient modern water tanks the hot water is stored ready for use at any time.
When needed, conventional heating supplies additional heat to bring the water to a usable temperature. This heat can be supplied by a gas boiler, electric element or even a biomass boiler.
How it works
A panel or array of solar tubes is usually mounted on the roof. A solar transfer fluid runs through the pipes or tubes. The fluid is heated by the sun and the heat is transferred directly to a hot water tank.
A 'twin coil' hot water tank is necessary for this. One coil is linked to the thermal system, the other to a secondary heat source like a boiler.
The solar thermal system will supply heat even on dull days, but when additional heat is need to bring the water in the tank up to temperature the conventional boiler supplies additional heat.
As the system requires less (or sometimes zero) energy from the conventional boiler it saves fuel, money and carbon emissions.
Types of thermal panel
There are two main types of solar thermal collector.
Evacuated Tubes use heat pipes for their core instead of passing liquid directly through them. Evacuated heat pipe tubes are composed of multiple evacuated glass tubes each containing an absorber plate fused to a heat pipe. The heat from the hot end of the heat pipes is transferred to the transfer fluid of a domestic hot water heating system in a heat exchanger called a "manifold". The manifold is wrapped in insulation and covered by a sheet metal or plastic case to protect it from the elements.
Flat Plate Collectors consist of a dark flat-plate absorber of solar energy, a transparent cover that allows solar energy to pass through, a heat-transport fluid to remove heat from the absorber, and a heat insulating backing. The absorber consists of a thin absorber sheet often backed by a grid or coil of fluid tubing placed in an insulated casing with a glass or polycarbonate cover. In water heat panels, fluid is usually circulated through tubing to transfer heat from the absorber to an insulated water tank.
View a demonstration system in our showroom
We have a demonstration system using a miniature evacuated tube array in our showroom in Stockton-on-Tees. It shows how a solar thermal system and boiler can work together to provide hot water at a greatly reduced cost.
Please feel free to call in any time during office hours (Mon-Fri 9-5). If this is not convenient, please call to arrange a visit outside office hours and we'll be pleased to help.