What is solar thermal (ST) and how does it work:
A Solar thermal system is one that takes sunlight or daylight and uses that light to heat up the hot
water in your water cylinder or tank. ST systems through a solar collector panel absorb
heat from the sun. This heat warms up the special fluid which passes through the panel. The fluid is
then pumped through a coil in the hot water tank/cylinder and in turn heats the stored water. This
water is then used for your tap or shower.
For the system to work at it optimum the thermal panel needs to be placed South facing in order to
collect as much sunlight throughout the day as possible. South East and South West installations are
also acceptable however the efficiency of the system will be slightly lower.
A thermal collector does not necessarily need to be placed on the roof so if your home has sufficient
space it can be fitted in the garden. The solar Thermal system also works very efficiently in cold
ST systems can provide around 60% of a home’s hot water. This in turn means a
considerable saving over the year. Because Solar thermal systems are rated as a renewable energy
and they lower the carbon footprint of a home they also qualify for the Renewable Heat Incentive
(RHI). Current RHI rate for solar thermal is 21.09p per kWh.
The warranty on a Solar thermal system is between 5-10 years and the lifespan of a system is
upwards of 25 years. The maintenance cost are relatively low and infrequent.
A solar thermal system can be retrofitted to a current combi boiler with some minor modifications
or can be incorporated into a new build.