Solar thermal system components
The collector is the main component of a solar thermal system and would in most cases be installed on the roof of the property. The collector contains specially coated reinforced glass pipes to capture the radiation emitted from the sun, which can then be transferred into heat. The pipes themselves will be embedded in an insulated container to prevent heat energy being lost. The heat transfer fluid in the pipes will include eco-friendly antifreeze and will circulate through the collector and hot water tank.
The whole system is operated from a solar thermal controller which is automated. When the temperature at the collectors rises to a specific temperature above the temperature in the storage tank, the controller will automatically switch on the pump and the transfer fluid heated in the collector will be sent to the hot water tank.
Solar thermal and the UK climate
It is a common misconception that the climate of the United Kingdom makes it unsuitable for the use of solar technology. Solar collectors do not require bright sunlight in order to function; they simply require light and while bright sunlight is obviously ideal, they can still heat water even on cloudy days as solar radiation is still present. It will be necessary to use a boiler or immersion heater as a backup system to provide an extra boost to your property’s hot water generation during winter. A solar thermal system is designed in most cases to meet up to 100% of water heating needs during summer allowing the regular heating system to remain unused. Over the course of a year it will meet in the region of 50% to 60% of needs.
Ultimately the determining factors for usage will come from the type of climate and the size of the solar thermal system that you have installed. The overall rate of water usage will also be a determining factor. In most cases hot water usage will remain consistent which will impact positively on cost effectiveness.
Applications for solar thermal systems
The main ideal application for this technology would be in a residential setting where there is a need to reduce a large energy bill although the technology can also be applied to a commercial setting. The most cost benefit will be will be to facilities with high energy demands and which have heating systems that are expensive to operate.
Greenfields can design your system from single panel system for a 1 bathroom house up to megawatt system for large scale hot water production, please contact us to see what we can do for you.