Solar thermal is the method of collecting energy from the sun through a solar collector mounted on a roof or available land. The energy collected is then pumped through either a new or existing hot water cylinder to provide a large amount of free hot water for the property per year.
Does solar thermal receive RHI payments?
Yes, solar thermal receives payments for every kilowatt of energy it produces through the RHI scheme.
Types of solar thermal
Flat plate collectors are both the cheapest and also the most aesthetically pleasing types of solar thermal collector. They can be installed in a way where they sit into your roof tiles and look similar to a large Velux window. Also they can be mounted on top of the roof similar to PV panels. Flat plate collectors are not as efficient as an evacuated tube collector but are extremly durable.
Evacuated tube collectors are the most efficient type of solar thermal collector. They are made up of a number of glass tubes which convert the suns radiation into energy for your hot water. Evacuated tubes are on average 20% more expensive than flat plate collectors. Evacuated tubes should never be placed in a location where vandals could break them as they are very delicate.
Where is suitable for solar thermal?
Solar thermal works best when mounted on a south facing roof with a pitch of around 35 degrees with no shading. This allows the solar thermal panel to pick up the vast majority of sunlight from dawn until dusk. Unlike solar PV, solar thermal only needs a small amount of roof space to be mounted. As a rule of thumb solar thermal systems normally equate to 1 square metre of roof space per occupant in the property.
How much will a solar thermal system save me per year?
On average a solar thermal system that has been designed correctly will produce 60-80% of the average homes hot water per year.