Solar Thermal Systems – are they any Good ?

April 1, 2013

In the UK the  Energy Saving Trust (EST)  have been doing a  long-running trial of 88 solar hot water systems, also known as solar thermal systems.

Solar thermal panels use the sun to heat water in homes, rather than generate power, as solar photovoltaic (PV) panels do.

The UK trial shows that things like good  installation,  insulation of the pipes and water tank are all key in improving the performance of a solar hot water system, so you can save the most on your heating bills.

The trials found that solar hot water systems on average – normally provide 39 % of  all the hot water a home needs.  Which is probably somewhere between  £60-£90 savings on energy bills per year.

But  if the system is well installed and used correctly , it could provide 60% of the home’s hot water needs.  A badly installed and run solar system could provide as little as 9%.

Users need to make sure they are  insulating their tank and pipes, getting the right system size and setting up pumps and timers correctly.

Solar payback time

With solar thermal systems in the UK costing about £3,000-£5,000,  payback time is still a big issue –  issue and might explain why there aren’t many systems installed in the UK.

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