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solar thermal uses the sun's energy to heat water
Solar thermal - or solar hot water - is the most efficient form of solar technology. It is different from solar PV, which refers to generating electricity from the sun’s energy.
Solar thermal systems work alongside your conventional water heating system (e.g. gas boiler) and normally consist of solar panels (to capture the energy), pipes and a hot water cylinder (to store the hot water). The panels can be fitted on your roof or placed in any other unshaded area.
The hot water can be used for anything – baths, showers, doing the washing - it can even be used to heat swimming pools and, in some cases, whole buildings.
What’s so great about solar thermal?
- Provides up to 70% of your hot water needs
- Saves 15-20% on your energy bills
- From April 2011 you’ll be paid for every unit of heat your panels produce
- Lowers your carbon footprint
- Protects against rising energy costs
- Provides greater energy independence
- Requires little maintenance
Does it work in the UK?
Absolutely! In the UK we receive approximately 1000 kWh of solar energy per m2 each year – this is the same as much of Germany, France and Argentina. In fact, given the huge success of solar panels in Germany, it is clear that the technology works very well in our part of the world. Solar panels will provide all of your hot water in the summer, and pre-heat it in the winter.
If you are considering solar thermal, but can’t work out whether it is appropriate for you, greentomatoenergy can help. We will do a thorough assessment of your property’s energy profile and, using this, will advise you on how effective solar thermal will be and what the financials will look like.
Click here for one of our case studies.