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Loughton Heating Engineer

Solar thermal technology – unlocking the earth’s energy

During daylight hours the sun’s radiation warms the earth. This energy can be captured and used to heat water. Solar energy is an unlimited resource that produces no harmful emissions and requires no transportation or supply pipelines and solar thermal water heating systems are fairly standard now in the UK, most commonly in the domestic arena.

Flat plate systems are comprised of an absorber plate with a transparent cover to collect the sun’s heat. The metal sheet absorber sits between the glazing and insulation and collects the radiation that passes through the glass. This heat is transferred to the water/glycol mix, which flows through the copper pipes in the panel. The fluid is then pumped along circulating pipes before passing through a heat exchanger in the hot water cylinder or thermal store where the heat is given up.

As well as in the domestic arena, solar heating is also becoming more accepted in the public sector, for example in sheltered housing schemes, housing association developments, offices and leisure centres.

Solar thermal benefits

  • Produces up to 60% of the typical family’s hot water requirements
  • Free energy-efficient, renewable technology – helps to lower your carbon footprint
  • Supported by government grants of up to £400 or 30%, whichever is lower, towards the costs of installation
  • Suitable for both domestic hot water and underfloor heating
  • Low environmental impact – reduces carbon dioxide emissions by up to 400kg per year 
  • Minimum disruption and can be integrated with existing boiler

Renewable Heating Technologies

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