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a bit more detail
For the best results, solar panels should face directly south. You can face them in any direction, but each degree away from due south will reduce the amount of hot water the panels produce. In the UK we receive approximately 1000 kWh of solar energy per square metre each year. There is some regional variation - the South-West receives the most and the north of Scotland the least. 1000kWh is equivalent to about 1/15 of the average household’s energy requirement. A high performance flat plate panel facing south can produce as much as 700kWh/m2 of heat from this energy.
Solar thermal panels come in two varieties: flat plate and evacuated tube. Some new commercial systems make electricity from the heat, but these systems wouldn’t fit on your roof; unless you have a really massive one.
Each technology has it strengths - greentomatoenergy will recommend the system that is most appropriate for your needs.
Flat plate benefits
- Aesthetically pleasing - looks like a velux window and can be integrated into the roof tiles
- Excellent year round performance
- Easier to install
- Low maintenance
- Long lifetime
Evacuated tube benefits
- Works well when the panel must be laid flat or in more shaded locations
- Can be fitted to vertical walls
- Higher overall efficiency
The panels we like to use are highly engineered for optimum performance. They are made using absorbent epsilon coating, which achieves 95% solar absorption and improves solar performance by 20%.
We sell solar thermal systems which have drainback technology built into them. Drainback prevents the fluid in the system from boiling or freezing, thereby increasing the life of the system and reducing maintenance costs. Drainback technology also reduces the amount of space required to house the system.