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Solar energy from sunlight is used to provide hot water by means of roof mounted panels or tubes. AB Heating can design and install a solar system appropriate to your house using modern materials from manufacturers like Vaillant. A complete package of work from specification and design through to installation is offered.

How does it work?

Solar water heating systems use heat from the sun to work alongside your conventional water heater.

Above: typical solar domestic hot water system

For domestic hot water there are three main components:

Solar panels - called collectors, are fitted to your roof to collect heat from the sun's radiation. There are 2 main types of collector:

Flat plate systems - which are comprised of an absorber plate with a transparent cover to collect the sun's heat; or

Evacuated tube systems - which are comprised of a row of glass tubes that each contain an absorber plate feeding into a manifold which transports the heated fluid.

Solar pump and controller - When the collectors are hotter than the cylinder, the controller switches on the pump, which circulates the heated water back through the collectors and cylinder's heat exchanger, heating the cylinder in just the same way as a central heating boiler.

Hot water cylinder - stores the hot water that is heated during the day and supplies it when required.

The table below shows that even on the dullest of days, as much as 100 w/m² (Watts per metre square) can be collected from the sun's radiation.

Sunny Part sunny Mostly cloudy Really dull
1000 w/m² 600 w/m² 300 w/m² 100 w/m²

The benefits

Solar water heating can provide you with around a third of your hot water needs. An average domestic system reduces CO2 output by around 325kg per year - that's about £50 a year of your hot water bills, when installed in a gas heated home.

Under the Government's Low Carbon Buildings Programme grant scheme, householders may be entitled to financial assistance towards renewable technologies, including solar thermal hot water systems - call Freephone 0800 915 7722 for more information.

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