Solar Heating – How it works

Solar heating systems, also known as solar thermal systems use the power of the sun to heat your home’s water.

This is done by the installation of solar panels, which use thermal energy from the sun to heat your water. This is done through passing a fluid through the panels and pipework, which heats up and is then pumped into a coil within your water cylinder. This is then used to heat water within the cylinder to the desired temperature.

Solar heating systems tend to work much better in summer months, heating around 80 – 90% of your hot water, but can still provide significant benefits during winter months too. Certain systems can also help contribute to your home heating system, helping to create a warm and comfortable environment that is environmentally friendly and more cost effective to run.

What does the system do?

Our solar heating systems circulate fluid around a closed loop system that passes through the solar panels mounted to your roof. These panels heat that liquid to as high a temperature as possible, and then transfer that heat from the liquid to your water cylinder.

The solar PV liquid never touches the water itself, but merely heats the cylinder to the desired temperature through heat transfer.

The system works as shown right, and is described below:

  • Fluid is pumped to the solar panels on the roof
  • This fluid is then heated by the sun as it passes through metal pipes within the solar panels
  • This fluid then travels back down into your home, and passes through a coil in your water cylinder, heating it to the desired temperature
  • If the solar heat itself can’t achieve the desired temperature, a secondary coil connected to your boiler is activated to provide additional heat to bring the water up to temperature.
About our Solar Heating Systems

Our solar heating systems are driven by one of two types of solar panel. These panels are known as flat-plate collectors and evacuated-tube collectors.

Flat-plate collectors represent very good value for money, and last for many years with minimal maintenance. These systems are usually large glazed panels, which sit flat to the roof. Their format better lends themselves to new build homes and homes requiring a complete re-roof, as they can be sat within the roofing materials to provide a more polished, seamless finish.

The flat-plate solar heating system generates more of its heat over the summer months, but still contributes well to heating your water during autumn and winter also.

Evacuated-tube collectors are a great solution if you only have a small amount of roof space available, as they are known to be more efficient than flat-plate collectors. These systems are also very flexible and versatile, as they can be fitted in any orientation to a pitched or flat roof, as well as being fixed directly onto walls should space be at a premium.

All panels are connected to a specially controlled pump, which measures the temperature of the solar fluid to ensure maximum efficiency is being achieved. Once the right flow is established, the pump will feed the heat generated to the lower coil of a specially fitted water cylinder.

These water cylinders are a critical component to this type of system due to their twin coil system. These can usually be integrated into your current boiler and heating system to allow for ‘top-up’ heating, which our consultants can advise you of when conducting a site visit.

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