A solar thermal system is an environmentally friendly way of generating free hot water in your home or workplace using direct solar energy.
Solar hot water is a very simple concept. Solar collectors (panels) absorb solar heat and transport it to your domestic hot water cylinder, heating system or swimming pool via a circulating fluid.
Usually, solar hot water runs in conjunction with another heat engine (heat pump, boiler, immersion heater) which tops up the heat requirement when little or no solar energy is available or during periods of high demand.
Although it’s primary application is to provide free domestic hot water , solar thermal systems can also provide space heating for low temperature systems (underfloor heating) plus indoor and outdoor swimming pools.
ADVANTAGES OF SOLAR THERMAL
Energy Saving – heat produced from solar thermal is completely free and will offset the cost of heating by any other means.
Carbon Emissions Saving – there are no carbon emissions attributable to solar thermal systems so can be used to offset carbon emissions generated by the heat engine it is substituting.
Flexibility with other heat engines – Solar thermal systems can sit alongside other heat engines to create flexible, integrated energy solutions. For example, as well as standard gas and oil boilers, solar thermal can be integrated into ground and air source heat pump systems further reducing running costs by utilising the free energy available.
RENEWABLE HEAT INCENTIVE (RHI)
RHI is a government run incentive scheme designed to encourage the take up of renewable energy by paying owners of eligible technologies for the renewable heat generated. In the case of domestic owners, payments are made over 7 years whilst commercial owners receive payments over 20 years. RHI is index linked to inflation.
For Domestic customers, there are two further qualifying criteria to gain acceptance onto the RHI scheme. Firstly, your property must have a compliant green deal assessment attesting to minimum insulation levels required within your property and secondly, you must have a valid MCS certificate. MCS certificates can only be issued by accredited installers or installers operating under an MCS accredited umbrella scheme. TUS is completely flexible in that we operate an MCS umbrella scheme allowing your chosen installer to do the work or we can recommend from our network of accredited installers.
Financial Example (See example for GSHP)
Mr Y decides to combine his ground source heat pump with a 2 panel solar thermal system designed to provide free hot water during summer months and supplementary free hot water during the heating season.
Solar thermal will generate 50% of total domestic hot water required during one year, offsetting heat pump running costs by around £120 per year. Additionally, he will receive RHI payment of £210 per year realising a total benefit of £330. With an average installation cost of £2,500, the solar thermal system will pay back in around 7.57 years and thereafter, continue to save around £120 per year on running costs which will only increase as fuel prices rise.