Solar Energy

Solar energy can be captured by Solar panels. There are two types of solar panel which use completely different technologies to make use of the energy from the sun:

Solar Water Heating collectors:

These panels absorb energy from the sun and transfer it to heat water

Photovoltaic or Solar Electric panels:

These panels transform the solar radiation directly into electricity. For maximum efficiency, Solar Panels should be mounted on a south facing roof with an angle of inclination a minimum of 30 degrees and away from any shadows from trees, surrounding buildings or chimneys.

Solar Power water heating systems are the most popular form of solar energy used in the UK. This system is connected to the hot water system via a twin coiled cylinder. These installations can provide over half of household's annual hot water requirements over a year. There are two types of solar water collectors, Flat panels and evacuated tubes.

Solar water heating panels in their simplest form are made from a sheet of metal painted black which absorbs the energy from the sun. Water is fed through a series of tubes attached to the inside of the panels that picks up the heat in the metal. The pipes are often made of copper for a better conduction. The pipe contains a non-toxic fluid called Glycol (A mixture of water and anti-freeze). The metal sheet is embedded in a box covered with a reflective glass.

A typical installation in the UK consists of 2 panels; each panel has an absorbent range of 4m2, with an average sized storage tank of 250 litres. However the optimum size will depend on the household use.