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Solar heating panels and installations

"Use the sun to generate hot water with solar heating panels. Also known as flat-plates, these are popular with households who have a hot water storage tank that require huge amounts of electricity to run. People have been astute at reducing energy demands with this technology."

Solar heating panels.

Sunshine technology. A popular solar heating technology for those concerned about aesthetics. These can be incorporated as a Velux looking window.

In a nutshell.

Flat-plate panels, commonly known as solar heating panels, add a supplemental heating source for your hot water tank.

Installing solar heating panels is like converting a car into a hybrid running on LPG. After the initial investment, your home will operate efficiently and cheaply while additionally extending the life of your boiler.

From March to October your boiler will not need to switch on, and in winter, this technology will reduce your boilers running time. In addition, we modernise and bring your whole system up to current building regulation standards.

  • On-roof or in-roof like a Velux window.
  • On walls vertically or flat-roof on an A-frame.

Quotes from installers. Breakdown of annual yield

The science bit.

Solar panels heat up due to the sun's short-wave radiation output converting to long-wave radiation.


Flat-plate solar panels.
Size: 2206 mm x 1205 mm x 80 mm.
Weight: 55 kg.
Temperature: 40-80° Celcius (104-176° Fahrenheit).
Standard pressure: 3 bar.

Sunshine on a cloudy day.

Questions about solar heating panels

The benefits of solar heating technology:

Thermodynamic panels work night and day, although these aren't eligible for the current incentives.

Independent testing has concluded that solar tubes perform best in the UK climate and flat-plate panels come a close second.

Quotes from installers. Learn about incentives

The real benefits of solar water heating panels.

Roof orientation?

Most homes are suitable, if you have a S/SE/SW or east/west facing roof space, then probably. Your internal plumbing set up will need to be checked for compatibility, but this can be done easily at the quotation stage.

No planning permission needed in most cases.

Quotes from installers. Check your roof orientation

How does it work well in the UK?

The UK receives 60% of the sun's radiation compared with the equator. Each square metre of the UK receives between 900 to 1,300 kWh annually of the sun's radiation each year.

Solar radiation map of the UK

What do solar heating panels cost?

The cost of a solar panel system depends on several factors, usually based on water tank sizes. A survey and consultation appointment can be arranged to give you your options.

Get quotes

What about combi boilers?

Combi boilers are possible, but please bear in mind that we will need to re-install a hot water tank. Most homes with Combi's will not have the space to install a domestic sized hot water tank. If you're able to re-install a hot water tank, then yes an installation may be possible.

Schematics for solar heating panels

Can I install solar heating panels myself?

In most cases no, but if you are Part P qualified, then it may be possible to install in a diy capacity. DIY flat-plate panels and evacuated tube kits are available.

All flat-plate installations must be carried out and certified by an accredited MCS installer to qualify.

DIY solar panels

Does my roof have to face directly south?

South is the optimum and southeast and southwest are acceptable.

Why will I need to update my hot water cylinder?

Very simply, old copper hot water tanks run extremely efficiently when new, but after many years of use, lime scale will reduce the efficiency by a large percentage. When installing, we will also install a new, modern super-efficient tank, to get the most out of your system.

"Adding this technology to an old tank would be like converting your car to LPG gas and running it on semi-flat tyres."

Unless, of course, you already have a compatible tank (twin-coils) then a tank change will be required.

Does it contribute towards my central heating?

This depends on the type of set up you install. We would need to survey your home to see if our heat management system is suitable. In most cases, panels can contribute to your central heating, but not all installation companies offer this technology.

How long will it take you to install?

Two or three days in most cases.

What basics should I consider for an installation?

1. If you can face the tubes roughly towards the sun. South, southwest or Southeast roofs are ideal. Even east or west roofs usually offer 85% of the performance.

2. If your hot water cylinder is twin-coiled. It does not matter if you don't as we can install a compatible and more efficient tank as part of your installation.

3. Listed buildings, conservation area homes, national parks may need consent. Please consult with your local planning officer.

How long will I be without running water?

Normally only 4-5 hours.

My entire heating system needs replacing, can you help?

Yes, a surveyor will advise on modernising with your current installation.

Do solar heating panels work on cloudier days?

This rather depends on the technology installed and the density of the cloud. Thermal flat-plate panels do not contribute as much as evacuated tubes in these conditions. In moderate cloud density, the sun's energy can still be used. Wet, heavy dark, dense cloud cover, probably not. Use your solar powered calculator out on a cloudy day and it will still work.

It is worth noting that higher quality solar collectors are better at retaining heat at lower solar energy levels than a poorer quality collector.

How much CO2 will my I save?

Around half a tonne each year, but is dependent on how much hot water one use's and how your system currently heats your water at present.

Do we get enough sunshine to really make a difference?

Yes, flat panels are specifically developed for the UK climate and allow the inside of the solar panels to get very hot regardless of the outside air temperature.

What temperatures can I expect in the UK?

A good proportion of the year your water will be heated above 60° Celcius.

Is there a danger that the water could get too hot?

No, the systems never reach above 85° Celcius.

How does the glass clean itself?

The glass is coated with a microscopically thin layer of titanium dioxide. When ultraviolet light falls on the glass, the layer reacts with organic matter in the dirt, breaking it down into water can carbon dioxide. The dirt takes readily to water. Thus, when the rain arrives, it spreads uniformly across the surface and the loosened dirt is washed away rather than streaking.


"Feel the pride."

Stuart Lovatt
Founder of Power My Home.


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