Solar Power

A domestic solar hot water system is one which absorbs the sunís energy and transfers it to a storage cylinder. The two main types of collectors are flat-plate and evacuated tube. Flat-plate collectors heat the water directly, evacuated tubes contain a fluid which evaporates at low temperatures, and the resulting gas rises and condenses on a manifold, transferring its heat as it does so.

What are the benefits?

It will pre-heat water so that bills are drastically reduced. During summer months the system can provide all the hot water needed by a household. Solar power is a renewable energy source which doesnít involve the burning of fossil fuels. The burning of fossil fuels adds an extra 5 billion tonnes of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere each year. Solar hot water is probably the most cost-effective renewable energy technology that you can install in a domestic situation in this country, with the shortest payback time.

A DTI investigation into solar hot water systems in the UK from 1970-2000 found that a typical system will provide 72% of a householdís hot water over the course of a year (c. 15% in winter and 100% in summer). This is assuming that the roof is south-facing.