FAQ - Solar Thermal
What is Solar Thermal?
- Solar thermal is the technical name for solar energy which is used to heat your hot water.
How does it work?
- Solar thermal hot water heating works by pumping a liquid through a solar panel, and then returning the fluid to a special hot water cylinder to heat your water.
Where can I fit the solar panel?
- The solar panel is normally fitted on the roof of the property, but we can advise on other options if this is not suitable.
Does my roof need to face south?
- A south facing roof of 30 degree angle will offer the best annual output. However, east or west facing roofs can function extremely well also, but the available solar radiation is reduced by approximately 15-20%. The number or size of the panels are increased to compensate for this reduction, but this increases the cost of the system.
How much energy will the solar panels output?
- Typical solar thermal installations output between 1000 and 1500 kWh, dependant on the installation and the system that is implemented.
What is the difference between flat plate and evacuated tube collectors?
- Flat plate are slightly lower performing; but much more robust than evacuated tube systems. They can be installed on roof or in-roof (generally on new-builds) and look less obtrusive. This system has been around for about 50 years and is generally ‘fit and forget’ for roofs that have no space issues.
- Evacuated tube systems are slightly higher performing; worth thinking about if space is limited. They are more fragile; expect to change a tube or three over the lifetime of the system; so access should be considered. This system has been around for about 10 years; but obtaining parts can be a problem.
Do I need to replace my hot water cylinder?
- In most households, the cylinder does not have a second heating coil for the solar thermal fluid circuit, so we would usually need to replace the existing cylinder.
I have a Combi boiler. Can I install Solar Thermal?
- You will need a cylinder installed, as you will not have one if you have a Combi Boiler. Also, some combi-boilers accept pre-heated water and some will not; which must be considered. The most cost effective time to install a system is if you are changing your combi boiler; and can fit a compatible unit.
Will I be eligible for the Renewable Heat Incentive?
- Eco-Exmoor Devon is a MCS approved installer for Solar Thermal systems. Consequently you will be eligible for the RHI and other government grants:
- Domestic customer: You are currently eligible to receive the Renewable Heat Premium Payment, which is £300. You will also be eligible to receive the RHI, but currently the Energy Saving Trust is stating that this is not guaranteed if you have received the RHPP. Currently, we do not know the RHI rate payable.
- Commercial customer: For systems under 200kW (thermal) power rating, you will be eligible to receive 8.5p per kWHr.
- In order to receive the RHI, you will need to fit a Heat Meter.
Will I need to get planning permission?
- Most domestic and commercial properties will not need planning permission.
- Some exceptions however, are listed buildings and properties in a National Park, Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty or a conservation area. In all cases you should contact your local authority to seek clarification. If you live with the Exmoor National Park, you should contact the park authority www.exmoor-nationalpark.gov.uk
- At this moment in time Eco-Exmoor Devon is not able to provide a Planning Service for customers, but we are able to provide advice. It is your responsibility to investigate the planning requirements for your property and gain permission if required.
- We strongly advise that you visit the Government's Planning Portal for initial guidance.
- You should then contact your local planning authority for further advice.
For additional information please contact us
Eco-Exmoor Devon Ltd
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