Is a Solar Thermal System Right for your Property?
Factors to consider when looking at solar thermal for renewable energy
Solar thermal panels use either the heat of the sun or sunlight to generate energy, but they do not require bright sunlight in order to operate, meaning that they will still heat your water on cloudy days. However, in general the greater the intensity of light the better.
According to the European Commission, south west England has the highest levels of irradiation (sunlight) in the UK, making it perfect for solar installations.
However, there are a number of other factors to consider when deciding if solar thermal is the right renewable energy choice for your property.
The location of the solar panels is very important in order to maximize the performance and energy yield from the system. A typical solar thermal installation requires approximately 3-4 sqm of roof space. The ideal site is south facing at an angle of between 30 and 40 degrees so that the array receives the maximum amount of irradiation possible. However, other orientations such as south east or south west can be viable with a relatively low drop in expected performance.
In order to retain heat for maximum efficiency, solar thermal panels generally need to be sited as near to your hot water tank as possible.
Shading will affect the amount of energy generated so it is better to position the panels in an un shaded position if at all possible. However, shading with solar thermal is not as important as it is with solar PV.
We offer mounting systems that allow us to position solar thermal panels in a place that suits your site and requirements – whether that is on top of your existing roof tiles (on roof), flush with your roof tiles (in roof) or on a flat roof. Most roofs are strong enough to support solar panels without any reinforcement, but we will perform a site survey and make an assessment of this prior to installation.
In most cases installing solar thermal panels on your roof does not require planning permission as they are considered 'permitted development' under planning law. There are, however, some rules and exceptions that must be observed. For example, it is important to consult you local council's planning department for advice if your house is in an area of outstanding natural beauty or is a listed building. We are happy to advise and guide you in this area.
If you would like to find out how solar thermal could work for you give us a call, email us or fill in our enquiry form to arrange a free on site assessment. We promise to give you honest advice on the suitability of solar thermal for you and will design the optimum system to meet your requirements.