Solar Water Heater

Solar Water Heating

A solar panel system for heating water will be a much cheaper installation to set up than a photovoltaic, typically around £3000 – £5000. Solar Panels that heat up you water are cheaper because the panels are heating the water direct and do not require as much additional equipment as opposed to an electricity generating system.

Solar Water Heater

Solar Water Heating in the Home

A typical solar water heating system will cater for about a third of your hot water usage and will typically save you around £65 a year against electrically heated water. If you currently use LPG gas to heat your water, then you could save over £100 a year on your gas costs. Solar water heating systems will also need to rely on your existing hot water boiler to heat up the water for hotter water you will be accustomed to.

Incentives for using Solar Water Heating

The Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) is a government scheme that pays consumers for generating heat by using renewable energy. in order to qualify for the RHI, your home will need to meet minimum energy-efficiency standards.

It is recommended that you make sure your home is as energy-efficient as possible before considering using solar water heating as a means of saving on energy costs.

The more energy-efficient your house is, the less heat you will lose and therefore the less heat you will need to generate in the first place. This means that you should require a smaller heating system, cheaper to purchase upfront and cheaper to run in the long run.

Before committing to any system backed by the RHI scheme you should check current legislation as the government incentives may have changed. Proposed changes include dropping solar thermal from the scheme altogether.

Should you install a Solar Water Heating System

Pros of solar water heating systems

  • solar water heating can provide you with about a third of your hot water needs
  • solar water heating can save you between £65 a year (if you have gas central heating) and £125 (if you use LPG) on your water heating costs
  • maintenance costs are very low – most solar water heating systems come with a five to 10-year warranty and require little maintenance
  • it uses the sun’s heat – so there are no further costs once you’ve had the equipment installed, except, in most cases, a small amount of electricity needed to run the pump. In most systems, the pumping cancels out only about 8% of the energy savings, and newer technology can reduce this to 3% or even zero
  • in England, planning permission for most solar water installations is no longer needed – and governments in Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland are currently discussing introducing similar initiatives
  • the RHI provides payments to owners of solar heating systems.

Cons of solar water heating systems

  • you’ll still need a boiler or immersion heater to make the water hotter, or provide hot water when solar energy isn’t available (on overcast days, for example)
  • an unshaded, mainly south-facing location is necessary for positioning the solar panels
  • initial costs are higher than for conventional electric and gas-heater systems
  • solar panels can be heavy, so your roof must be strong enough to take their weight. Especially if the panel is to be installed on top of existing tiles
  • the cost of a typical solar water heating system is between £3,000-£5,000 – a fairly expensive solution. Although the RHI does provide some financial help