Solar thermal technology has lots of advantages – it’s low maintenance, it will save money year after year and the system is relatively inexpensive compared with other microgeneration technologies. So how much do you need to invest, and what will you get back?
The cost of your install will depend on a range of factors including the number of panels, the complexity of the plumbing and the suitability of your existing hot water system. A typical EvoEnergy system would cost around £5,000 to £5,500, and you’ll be able to get £300 towards this from the government as part of the upcoming Renewable Heat Incentive
Depending on how you use it, a well-designed and properly sized solar thermal system can help you make a substantial saving on your bills. You can expect it to provide:
- 80-90% of your hot water in the summer
- 40-50% of your hot water in the spring and autumn
- 10-15% of your hot water in the winter
Systems can also be designed to contribute towards heating your home, and could reduce heating costs by up to 60% over the course of a year.
You’ll make the biggest saving if your hot water is currently heated by electricity, followed by oil and then gas. However, the actual savings you’ll make on your bills will depend on how you use your hot water. The best way to find out what you could save is to talk it through with one of our advisors.
Making the most of your system
How well a solar thermal system will work for you depends on your lifestyle and when you tend to use the majority of your hot water or heating. If you’re in during the daytime and use your hot water mainly in the evenings, solar thermal is ideal. If the house is empty during the day and you use most of your hot water first thing in the morning, you won’t be getting the full benefits. However, you can get round this by installing a larger hot water cylinder, which will allow you to store more hot water overnight.
It’s a good idea to time your boiler or immersion heater so that it tops up the heat in the early evening, when the solar thermal system has been working all day. The water can then be used later that evening or the following morning. On a warm day, you may not even need to use your boiler or immersion heater at all.
Using a solar thermal system for heating is an option and can be especially effective if you have underfloor heating, or you don’t have a mains gas supply. Systems designed to supply heating are larger than those providing hot water alone, so you’ll need a bigger roof space and bigger hot water cylinders. However the long-term benefits could make it a worthwhile investment. To find out whether it could be a good option for you, just talk to one of our team.