How Solar Thermal Works
GenFIT Solar thermal systems generate hot water by collecting free heat from the sun.
Solar collectors, usually mounted on a roof, are designed to absorb the suns energy often reaching high temperatures. Water is then pumped through the collectors in order to cool them down, resulting in hot water, which then feeds into an insulated hot water store.
There are two main types of solar collector:
Flat plate – each panel is typically 2-3sqm panels with flat-glazing which can be mounted either on, or in, a roof
Evacuated tubes – comprising a number of “vacuum tubes” fixed into a manifold mounted onto a roof
There is very little difference in the performance of well sized flat plate and evacuated tube systems, so the main decision is really based on aesthetics and/or available roof area.
Solar thermal systems can contribute up to 70% of a household’s hot water requirement, with the majority of the energy being delivered between April and September, and significantly less in the months outside this period. Back up heating in the form of a gas/oil boiler, immersion heater or even biomass is required to top up the stored water temperature during the winter months – or daily if the solar water temperature hasn’t reached 60C.