Mark Smith Solar & Renewables

What Is Solar Hot Water?

Solar water heating systems, or solar thermal systems, use energy from the sun to warm water for storage in a hot water cylinder or thermal store.  Because the amount of available solar energy varies throughout the year, a solar water heating system wont provide 100% of the hot water required throughout the year.  A conventional boiler or immersion heater is normally used to make up the difference.

Larger solar hot water arrays can also be arranged to provide some contribution to heating your home.  However , the amount of heat provided is generally very small ( less than 10% of your homes heating requirements) so it is not usually considered a worthwhile practice.

Most solar hot water systems are just designed to provide the hot water you use for showering, bathing and water from your hot taps.

How Do Solar Hot Water Heating Systems Work?

Solar water heating systems use panels or tubes, called solar collectors, to gather solar energy.   The solar collectors convert the infra-red portion of visible light into heat.  They are filled with a mix of water and glycol.  This fluid is pumped round a circuit, which passes through the hot water cylinder.

What Are The Benefits Of Solar Water Heating?

The system works all year round, although you will need to heat the water further with an immersion heater or boiler primarily through the winter months.  In the summer it should provide you with approximately 90% of your hot water requirements, dropping to approximately 25% in the winter.

Sunlight is free so your hot water costs will be reduced

Solar water heating is a renewable heating system and can reduce your carbon dioxide emissions, thus reducing your carbon footprint

It is said that homes with solar sell faster and at a higher price than those without.  Therefore, adding solar hot water to your home is an investment that will pay back either if you are choosing to stay in your home or sell.