Solar Heating Installers
Even a northern climate like the UK can give year-round water heating from the Sun, as long as the system is efficient and installed correctly.
Here are some useful resources:
- Energy Savings Trust Solar water heating - brief introduction and a list of accredited suppliers and products
- Solar Radiation Charts from NASA for East Anglia show the optimum tilt of a solar array, at different times of the year. Clearly it's most important to optimise this for the colder months, as that is when heat collection is more important.
- A DIY Solar Collector from diydata.com, using central-heating radiators!
- DIY Mini Solar Water Heater - a Primary School project, from the UK National Energy Foundation.
- SolarTwin.com supply a ~1MWh/year system, either installed for ~£3400 or as a kit for ~£2500. It uses a solar-powered pump for extra energy efficiency. It feeds hot water straight into the main hot-water cylinder. It comes with a 5 year performance warranty.
- Sol Heat Microgeneration Solutions features a domestic Pre-Feed Cylinder Solar Water Heating System with a separate cylinder and a solar pump. It gives a guide price (subject to survey) of £6,100 for a 4 Bed House. No warranty information is provided. I would estimate that a tilt of 40° - 60° is ideal.
- Nuaire SunWarm supplies systems for hot water and air-heating. It has 5 years (parts and labour) warranty. It uses a mains-powered pump.
The installers mention the possibility of getting a £400 for a solar heating installation, but you will need to make a grant application for this; your chosen installer should give you all the help you need in this process, so take their advice. Most importantly, don't apply for a grant until you have had a positive site survey and an official quotation. Also, the supplier (and their product) must be accredited to be eligible for a grant.
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