Solar Heating

Also known as ‘Solar Thermal’, Solar Heating systems are Solar PV’s counterpart, providing hot water for your home as opposed to electricity. Solar panels are fitted on the roof of your property and easily provide you with hot water during summer and winter months alike. GroundTherm have been specialising in renewable energy for over 25 years – and we have been fitting Solar Thermal systems since 1995. Our experience allows us to help you to select the best option for you, whilst ensuring that your installation is properly fitted and provides maximum efficiency and economy to reduce bills and lower carbon emissions more effectively.

How does it work?

solar-heatingIn simplified terms, solar heating works by taking heat energy from the sun and collecting that heat for use in the home. When taking a look at a Solar Thermal system in more depth, the collected heat is stored in the panels which then transfer it to a hot water cylinder where it will be kept at an optimum temperature ready for use within the home. There are two types of collectors – evacuated tubes (rows of tubes which collect sunlight very efficiently and are more effective during winter months) and flat plate collectors (large plates fixed to or integrated into the roof). Your requirements will dictate which type you have installed, as both have beneficial properties depending on your type of property and energy usage.

Although this system will provide heat for hot water all year round, during cooler winter months you may need to further heat your water using a heat pump or immersion system – so it’s always a good idea to have this installed or maintained as a ‘back up’.

What are the benefits?

Aside from the obvious environmental positives, a Solar Heating system can substantially reduce the cost of energy bills, as following the initial payment for installation the running and maintenance costs are minimal and of course, sunlight is free. This means that over several years the potential return on investment is significant – typically clients see a saving of £400 over one year. Compare the annual running cost and investment of £800 to a bill of £600 to heat the same property and it’s easy to see why.

Is Solar Heating for me?

As with all the renewable energy installations we offer, we always make sure that we conduct a full consultation with you to ascertain what your needs are and whether the proposed system is a good fit for you. However there are a few things you can consider before making a decision to switch to Solar Thermal energy, such as space (do you have enough space for the panels and for a newer, larger hot water cylinder?), sunlight (although Solar Thermal panels are designed to run even without direct sunlight, for optimal results they do need to be placed preferably facing the South or West) and compatibility (does your current heating system have the necessary capacity to run with a Solar Thermal source?).

These are all questions we can answer during a consultation – but it’s always best to be aware of the possible issues and extra costs involved when embarking upon a renewable energy installation. You will also need to think about the state of your roof and the materials used in its construction – slate or tile are commonly suitable but a thorough roof survey will need to be conducted to ensure that the roof will take the extra load placed upon it by snow and wind with the addition of the solar panels. In retrofit situations you may need a new hot water cylinder if you are not able to use your existing hot water system or find that it will not be efficient enough to meet your energy saving goals.

Costs, maintenance and timescales

On average, a Solar Heating installation costs around £3,000 including the cylinder and takes 3 days to complete as a ballpark. This could vary dramatically of course, based on the type and size of the property at hand. One of the huge benefits of a Solar Heating system is very low maintenance costs – plus with GroundTherm you receive an insurance-backed ten year workmanship guarantee on all installations we carry out.

What’s the process?

Initially we come out and complete a thorough assessment of your home’s energy consumption and current usage, taking into account any seasonal differentiation. Additionally a roof survey will need to be carried out to determine its wind and snow load, ensuring that panels can safely be fitted and your roof can take the weight of the panels in all eventualities. We discuss your goals at length and learn more about what you are looking to get out of the installation – as this will help us to determine whether Solar Thermal is right for you. We also need to check that your property is suitable for the installation of solar panels – ensuring compatibility with existing systems and assessing whether additional systems may need to be installed to help you to reach your energy- saving and cost-reducing goals. Once you decide to go ahead, we carry out the necessary checks and certifications and go ahead with the installation, which usually takes around 3 days to complete.

For more information or if you have any questions regarding Solar Heating systems, please contact us 0161 451 0225 or use the feedback form.

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