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Solar thermal heating: Your questions answered

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You might have heard a fair bit about solar thermal heating systems down the years, and wondered whether such an installation could be just the thing for lowering your household’s annual water bills at the same time as reducing its carbon footprint.

Understandably, though, a lot of people in London and the Home Counties can become easily confused as to what solar thermal heating is, and what it isn’t.

So, our Clapham, Raynes Park and Dorking plumbers and engineers decided to come up with a quick rundown of some of the questions they most frequently receive about solar thermal heating. 

Isn’t solar thermal heating basically the same as solar panels or solar PV? 

Alas, not quite. While both solar thermal heating and solar PV (also known as solar photovoltaic) are known for their use of panels, they aren’t the same. 

Solar PV is about using PV technology to capture sun rays for direct conversion into electricity. Solar thermal systems, meanwhile – also often referred to as solar water heating systems – use the sun’s free heat to warm domestic hot water. 

So, while they’re both great ‘green’ technologies, if it’s specifically water heating that you’re interested in, a well-installed solar thermal system could be the perfect solution for your home. 

Why should I invest in a solar thermal heating system? 

We touched on the advantages a little above – with sunlight being a free resource, once you have paid for the installation of a solar water heating system, you can enjoy lower hot water costs. 

Furthermore, the green and renewable nature of sunlight will enable you to slash your household’s carbon dioxide emissions. 

So what happens when there isn’t enough sun? 

That doesn’t have to be a big drama, as a solar thermal heating system can work in conjunction with a conventional boiler or immersion heater to ensure all of your London or Home Counties home’s hot water needs continue to be met, even at times when it isn’t very sunny outside. 

What savings could I achieve with a solar water heating installation? 

The exact savings achievable from a solar thermal heating system naturally vary from one user to the next. 

However, the Energy Saving Trust conducted a field trial that indicated a solar thermal heating system – when well-installed and properly used – could save the bill payer £60 a year when replacing gas heating, and £70 a year when used in place of electric immersion heating. 

Are incentives available? 

You may be able to receive payments towards your home’s renewable heating costs through the government’s Domestic Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) scheme. 

If you would like further advice and assistance with seeking out relevant grants, incentives and money-saving opportunities near you, don’t be afraid to get in touch with our Sunbury, Hampstead or Dorking plumbers and heating engineers today. 

Call 0203 370 0066 now, and we would be pleased to provide a free consultation to identify whether a solar thermal heating system installed by us could be the right choice for you. If so, we will also be able to provide a competitive quote for the installation, and can even undertake routine maintenance on your solar water heating system for years to come. 

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