15th February 2011

Solar Heating

Solar heating or solar thermal systems are the most common form of renewable energy system installed in homes and buildings. It is an established technology that has been around for over 100 years – so you can be confident that it will be cost effective, reliable and effective!

Solar heating systems are composed of panels that convert sunlight to heat. The systems may be used to heat domestic hot water or a swimming pool, or even to make a contribution towards under floor heating. Solar heating panels are one of the most cost effective ways to reduce your utility bills and make a positive contribution towards the environment. In fact the amount of pollution reduced by installing a domestic solar heating system is equivalent to taking one car off the road (i.e. about 1500m3 CO2 per annum).

There are two types of solar heating collectors; the conventional flat plate collector and the more efficient vacuum tube collectors.

Eco2Solar supply and install both flat plate and evacuated tube solar panels including collectors from leading solar panel suppliers Riomay, Strebel, Rayotec, Tisun and Gasokol.

All solar thermal collectors work on the same principle; a simple, yet highly efficient energy transfer system that can heat water throughout the year. Whether your system is domestic, commercial, small or large, the principle is the same.

The heat transfer fluid passing through each panel is a solution of water and non-toxic antifreeze. This fluid absorbs heat from the solar panels and is pumped to a heat exchanger (coil) in the hot water tank. The heat then passes into the water, and the fluid is pumped back to the solar panel.

The pump is controlled by an electronic device that detects the temperature difference between the solar panel and the hot water tank. When the temperature in the panel is lower than the temperature in the tank, the system remains on standby. But when the sun raises the temperature in the panel above the temperature in the tank, the temperature controller switches on the pump.

The system prevents energy losses at night and during the darkest days of winter, and the heat transfer fluid eliminates any risk of freezing.

Which should I choose – flat plate or evacuated tube?

Flat Plate system

Can be integrated into the roof

Seen by some as more aesthetically pleasing

More robust in areas prone to vandalism

Evacuated Tube system

More efficient then a flat plate system

Higher performance during less sunny weather and during winter

Can be mounted on a flat roof or wall due to its ability to rotate the collector plates to the optimum angle on installation

How does an evacuated tube system work?