Solar panels are on the rise in the UK and although PV systems are the most popular option, thermal panels have started to make an impact in the market too.
These panels are fitted to your rooftop to generate heat for your hot water by collecting natural daylight.
The basic solar panel is constructed from a number of cells which are filled with liquid. The liquid absorbs the sun’s energy, heating it up in the process.
These panels are connected to your central heating, so the heat is simply transported inside your home. The temperature can be further increased if necessary until it’s suitable for the central heating.
Benefits of solar thermal panels
There are a number of key benefits to investing in solar thermal panels and these include:
- Solar is a renewable resource, which means you’re generating free energy. As such, you won’t have to pay expensive heating bills to the national suppliers and can save quite a bit of money./li>
- You’ll be able to reduce the use of fossil fuels in your home, which not only saves money as mentioned, but will also cut the amount of carbon emissions generated.
- Solar thermal panels are also eligible for the Government’s Renewable Heat Incentive. This scheme works in a similar way to the popular feed-in tariff and pays out for seven years, earning you a small fortune.
Drawbacks to solar thermal panels
As with anything, despite the advantages there will always be a few drawbacks:
- Solar thermal relies on the cooperation of sunlight, so when that’s not available you’ll still need you immersion heater or boiler for backup. This is particularly evident in winter when there are fewer daylight hours.
- Prices for solar thermal can be quite high, although they have come down quite a bit in recent years. The Energy Saving Trust says a typical solar thermal system will set you back around £5,000.