The benefits of solar hot water

Solar hot water systems deliver reasonable financial benefits when the Renewable Heat Incentive and RHPP are taken into account:

  • Reduced heating costs: By converting free sunlight into heat, you can reduce your heating and hot water bill by as much as £80 a year, with the RHPP scheme giving a grant of £300. With the Renewable Heat Incentive included, this saving will be even greater.
  • Reduced carbon footprint: Energy from the sun produces no carbon dioxide or other harmful greenhouse gases.
  • Hot water all year: The system works all year round, though you'll need to heat the water further with a boiler or immersion heater during the winter months.
  • Low maintenance: Most solar water heating systems come with a 5-10 year warranty and require little maintenance.

Calculate your savings!

Typical Savings

Solar water-heating can provide you with about half of your hot water needs. In a study by BRE, 6 houses fitted with solar water heating were monitored and the energy savings in heating and hot water varied from 26 – 70%. The average was 50%, which is an average saving of 1,200 kWh of energy per year.

Energy Saving Trust studies suggest savings based on the hot water and heating requirements of a 3 bed semi-detached home with a 3.4m2 collector are £80 a year for a home using electricity, and £55 per year for a gas heated home.

What to do next?

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FAQs

What guarantees should I expect with solar thermal panels?
These will vary between makes, but typically solar thermal collectors should be guaranteed for around 10 years. Other components and labour are usually guaranteed for 5 years.
Do I need planning permission to install solar thermal panels?
Roof mounted solar thermal systems do not usually need planning permission unless they exceed a certain height, or if the property is listed or in a conservation area. However, it is best to check your local authority's information. Take a look at our Planning Permissions page for further information on the permissions in your area.
Do I need permission from Building Control to install solar thermal panels?
A buildings notice is usually not required for solar thermal panels as long as the units are below a certain height when installed. This will depend on your local authority, and whether your building is listed or in a conservation area, so you should contact your local office to confirm. You can find more information about Planning permission for solar panels here.
Can I heat my house and my hot water using solar thermal?
Currently no solar thermal system installed in the UK will be able to fully meet your heating and hot water needs. Aside from the fact that the UK is generally a less sunny country, during the winter months when sunshine is minimal you will definitely need a back up source of water heating such as an immersion heater.
Can I heat my swimming pool with solar thermal panels?
Yes, Solar thermal water heating can be a very effective for pools.
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