solar thermal panels (HOT Water)
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Solar thermal panels, not to be confused with solar photovoltaic panels, are one of the simplest renewable technologies to understand. Pioneers in solar thermal technology would paint a radiator black and strap it to the outside wall of their house, then connect it to their heating system. Circulation was achieved by convection or was pumped, but technology has moved on and efficiency increased since then.
Today's solar thermal panels produce virtually free hot water on any sunny day, even in winter. When we installed ours at the end of January 2005 we were delighted because they were even more effective than we had imagined, especially when one considers that we're in Scotland.
On 1st February, the first day after commissioning, we had a sunny day, albeit a short one, which still provided us with a full tank of free hot water.
Solar thermal panels can be installed in-roof, on-roof (if you don't want to remove slates from an existing roof), or on the ground or a flat roof on A-frames.
You will need a hot water cylinder with a solar coil, and if installing a heat pump now or in the future, you will need a solar DHW cylinder that has the larger coil needed by a heat pump.
The most common method of fitting solar panels is to a sloping roof, preferably on a South-facing area with little to no shading. Installation can be carried out in two ways: on-roof, or in-roof. On-roof panels cause minimal disruption to the roof, but sit proud of the slates and tiles. On the other hand, in-roof panels, which are often said to resemble large skylights involve co-ordinating the work with a roofing contractor. Alternatively, you can have your panels fitted on A-frames on a flat surface.
Solar thermal panels are eligible for payments under the Renewable Heat Incentive scheme, subject to your eligibility. If you wish to claim payments under the RHI scheme, your installer must be MCS accredited for the installation of solar thermal panels. It’s important to check that your installer is on the MCS register because if they are not, you will not be able to claim the RHI. You can check the Energy Saving Trust's Renewables Installer Finder here.
RENEWABLE HEAT INCENTIVE
Subject to your eligibility, the Energy Saving Trust offer the opportunity for your home to generate income as well as keep your fuel use low. Check your eligibility by visiting their web site here. If you're in Scotland, click here.
If you wish to claim payments under the RHI scheme, your installer must be MCS accredited for the installation of solar thermal panels. It's important to check that your installer is on the MCS register because if they are not, you will not be able to claim the RHI. MCS accredited installers are annually audited for their admin procedures, quality of installation, and compliance with MCS standards. You can check the database here. Our MCS accreditation number is NAP 14681, in the name of Borders Underfloor Heating Ltd.
Please note that the domestic RHI scheme is closing on 31st March 2022. In order to qualify for RHI payments, solar thermal panels must be installed, commissioned, and registered with MCS no later than 31st March 2022.
INTEREST FREE LOANS IN SCOTLAND
Home Energy Scotland are currently offering interest free loans for people installing renewable energy devices in Scotland. Check your eligibility by calling them on 0808 808 2282, or for more details, click here.
All installation photographs on this web site are our own work, and are copyright.