The sun is by far the most abundant energy source available to us on earth. The energy, in the form of solar radiation, arriving on the earth’s surface in 40 minutes is the equivalent of the power used by the entire population of earth in one year.
Solar water heating is one of the most practical and effective ways in which we can use and enjoy renewable energy in our homes.
There is a widely held pre-conceived mis-conception that the UK does not have enough sunshine to make solar hot water plausible. The Meteorological Office has been recording solar data for the last 30 years and in fact parts of the UK have annual solar radiation levels equal to 60% of those experienced at the equator. That part of the UK is us down here in Cornwall.
A correctly installed solar domestic hot water system could provide up to 60% of your annual household water requirements, meaning your reliance on costly and damaging fossil fuels would be greatly reduced.
When specifying a solar thermal system, we only install Microgeneration Certification Scheme (MCS) approved collectors. Horizon Renewable Energy are MCS approved installers. This means that you, the customer will be able to claim any government Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) payments when they are decided later this year. If your installation is carried out by a non-MCS registered company, you will not be eligible for any RHI grants.
If you would like further information or would like to discuss the possibilities of integrating renewable energy into your home or work place, please feel free to give us at Cornish Renewable Energy a call.
There are two different types of collector commonly used at present – Evacuated tube and flat plate.
Evacuated tube solar panels are the highest performing solar panels. They offer solar gain even when conditions are cold and cloudy. Vacuum tubes tend to have 360 degree absorption using Compound Parabolic Compound (CPC) mirror technology. This means that they represent the maximum hot water output for the minimum of roof space.
Flat Plate solar collectors consist of a dark flat-plate absorber of solar energy, a transparent cover that allows solar energy to pass through but reduces heat losses, a heat-transport fluid to remove heat from the absorber, and a heat insulating backing. A grid or coil of fluid tubing placed in an insulated casing is used to feed the glycol mixture through the collector and back to the hot water cylinder.
Most (if not all) vacuum tube collectors use heat pipes for their core instead of passing liquid directly through them. Evacuated heat pipe tubes (EHPTs) are composed of multiple evacuated glass tubes each containing an absorber plate fused to a heat pipe. The heat from the hot end of the heat pipes is transferred to the transfer fluid (water or an antifreeze mix—typically propylene glycol) of a domestic hot water or hydronic space heating system in a heat exchanger called a “manifold”. The manifold is wrapped in insulation and covered by a sheet metal or plastic case to protect it from the elements.