What is solar water heating?
Solar heating converts sunlight into heat. This heat is transferred to your hot water cylinder supplementing the gas energy used to fuel your current boiler. Solar water heating is good for the environment and will help reduce your central heating bills.
How does solar water heating work?
Installers attach solar panels to your roof and then connect them to a solar hot water cylinder, using a heat transfer system. The cylinder itself can be placed in an unobtrusive place such as an airing cupboard. The cylinder then stores the hot water that has been produced during the day by the sunlight, ready for use when you need it.
Where do the solar panels go?
A South facing roof ensures that the solar panels get the highest exposure to the sun. However, solar panels can be fitted to a south-east or south-west facing roof provided there is only a minimal of shading.
Of course, the roof will need to strong enough to support the solar panels - they are heavy items. Also, a special hot water cylinder is needed to store the hot water. Ordinary storage cylinders can sometimes be converted. However, in some cases a new one will be required.
How much will this system cost?
The cost depends on a number of factors:
The number of solar panels installed
The ease of installation
The type of existing system and how easy it is to convert
The costs range from £3,500 to £5,000
Do I need planning permission?
The simple answer in London is - no. However, if you live in a conservation area you will probably require planning permission - so contact your local authority. If you live in a listed building you will not be allowed to attach solar panels to it.
What are the benefits of solar heating?
- You can reduce your heating bills by 70% to 90% in the summer
- You can reduce your heating bills by 25% to 30% in the winter
- On average this equals approximately 50-75% reduction in your annual heating costs.
- You can reduce carbon dioxide emissions by anything from 400 to 750kg per year.
- Solar panels will supply heat even in cloudy and broken sunshine. Ideal for UK weather
- The value of your house will increase
Can I get a government grant for installing solar heating?
Technically, there are grants available for installing solar heating to homes in London.
The reality, is that obtaining a grant is a difficult, time consuming process with an enormous amount of paperwork and red tape.
So our advice is, if you want solar heating for your home - you'll have to fund it yourself.
For more information on the grants go to Low Carbon Buildings Programme FAQ.
You will need to get a quote from a certified installer and then apply for a grant.
It is very much dependant on whether you have met a set of very rigorous qualification criteria.