Solar Heating?

Does anyone have good or bad experiences with any UK Solar Heating
suppliers/installers.. This is not really a DIY project but the total house
energy project is really DIY with, and often without, the help of
professionals. Any recommendations or people I should avoid?.
Reply to
Michael Shergold
Have a look at
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- I had a system installed by one of their recommended installers a few months back and the quality of the product and installation are both excellent.
The system has delivered a surprising amount of energy, (better than I was expecting) and even on cold days like we're getting now pre-heats the HW cylinder so the boiler has less to do. I went with a data-logger option on the solar controller so have been able to keep a close eye on what the system does etc!
Regards,
Alan.
Reply to
Alan
Why? The navitron site is a useful one. It's certainly a very good place to start if you're looking at renewable energies. Or would you recommend B&Q?
Reply to
Mogga
It depends upon why you want Solar Water Heating,. If its to look green then almost any supplier will do. If it's to save money then none will as no commercial installation will pay back its installation cost in its lifetime.
Solar Water heating is one of the easiest DIY projects BTW and doing it yourself is the only way of coming anywhere near breakeven.
Reply to
Peter Parry
Can you recommend a DIY solar water heater site for information?
I can envisage using a large single panel steel radiator painted black and mounted in a well insulated double glazed frame. I think that the Max incoming solar energy is about 3 quarters of a Kw per sq M, and reduced by, say approx 50% efficiency, is that reasonable ball park figures to start with. I also think that winter solar gain is only approx 10% of Max.
Does any one have any info or figures to add to the debate? Don
Reply to
Donwill
The OP didn't specify water heating, which is why I didn't reply.
You're wrong.
But there are other reasons than 'looking green' or recouping capital outlay for wanting to use solar power.
Mary
Reply to
Mary Fisher
It's what we have, I've just switched on our boiler to heat water for washing up. It wouldn't have been necessary except that I had a deep bath this morning.
We're in Yorkshire.
Mary
Reply to
Mary Fisher
In message , Mary Fisher writes
Will it ever pay back those installation costs?
Reply to
Si
On Sat, 8 Dec 2007 17:43:12 -0000, "Donwill" wrote:
For a start, very few of the commercial ones as they almost all, to put it mildly, overstate the effectiveness of solar water heating. You will also find a lot a vague claims but few actual figures.
There are also inflated claims for the life of the systems. "Life" in the solar industry seems to mean how long before it has to be completely dismantled. Claims of 20-25 years are common but in that time you would expect to replace the pump (perhaps several times), the panel front plastic and other items. The cost of this can easily exceed the purchase price.
Well the Solartwin panel Mary enthusiases about is simply two sheets of thin aluminium riveted together in a few places with a length of silicon rubber pipe run between them three times lengthways so it is slightly squashed by the aluminium. This is in an aluminium case with a foam back insulation and twinwall polycarbonate front. It's a cheap construction with a relatively poor collection efficiency but produces quite good overall efficiency by using a solar powered pump. (When you are not collecting much energy in the first place a 25W pump matters!)
The Solartwin by the way, although mildly interesting, has a slight problem in that it is allergic to hard water so you either need to factor in the cost of an ion exchange water softener or live in a soft water area).
Figures, as I have mentioned, are disliked by green proponents, they think they create the wrong impression. They prefer things like "Wow - lots of hot water in November" and "You won't believe how hot my tank is".
Some sources of interest are the Energy Savings Trusts "Potential for Microgeneration Study and Analysis, Final Report 14th November 2005"
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Of solar water heating they conclude
"Current status and potential - Currently the largest microgeneration industry, installing 2000 units annually. Generally, solar water heating is not cost effective at present The technology is most effective if replacing electric heating systems. However, while capital costs are projected to reduce, the learning rate appears low and it is not likely that solar water heating will provide cost effective water heating over the timescales of the study [up to 2050] without substantial grant support."
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two DTI test reports on solar panels which give much of the information you are looking for.
If you are heating your water by mains gas a single panel will save you about £40 per year.
Reply to
Peter Parry
There isn't much scope for adding solar space heating to an existing house in the UK.
No, I'm absolutely right and even organisations like the Energy Saving Trust agree. In the UK no commercial solar water installation makes economic sense.
Hence the reason for asking why he wanted to do it. Some people do it for pseudo religious reasons, some to impress their neighbours, some through ignorance (the "everyone has to do their bit" fallacy) and some do it out of interest. Without knowing the reason its difficult to give the best advice.
Reply to
Peter Parry
How many kWh worth of energy in total did you gain from your solar heating installation today Mary?
It was less than 3C (Got a constant frost warning in the car) and gloomier than The Wreck of the Hesperus at 1-00 pm in Leeds, and dark by soon after 3-00 pm.
OTOH The temperature of the water in our rising main was 7C, it would be very easy to make a net heat loss from a solar water heating system under these circumstances.
How many were you washing up for?
What kind of boiler/system and how big?
DG
Reply to
Derek Geldard
What do you think about using solar for heating a swimming pool? Lots of low grade heat might actually be quite well suited to that application.
Reply to
John Rumm
On Sat, 08 Dec 2007 23:36:33 +0000, Peter Parry wrote:
"25 years" Seems to have the status of a "Golden Number" in the vocabulary of those promoting green technology, for whatever motive. You know something along the lines of the "7 Seas", "7Deadly Sins" and "7 Wonders of the World".
Curiously CFL's have been claimed to last 25 years, but we had one fail yesterday, the third within a week. :-(
(snip)
DG
Reply to
Derek Geldard
It's like those wineboxes. It says on the box that once open they last for 3 months, but they don't.....
Reply to
Andy Hall
On Sun, 9 Dec 2007 08:21:56 +0000, Andy Hall wrote:
They do, I've never seen green scum and lumps in one less than 6 months old. As with solar panels it just depends on how you define "lasts" :-)
Reply to
Peter Parry
Can I just add my own experiences here. While a student in Crete in the early nineties, I stayed in a flat with solar water heating. It worked well, but not in the winter (had to use immersion heater from Dec to Feb, from memory, and I don't do baths).
What they call winter in Crete is an overcast June day in Scotland. I agree, we are talking 15-20 years when the technology may have matured, but Scotland has not moved any more south in the period :-)
I followed this thread with interest and I am not convinced there is a case. YMMV.
Kostas
Reply to
Kostas Kavoussanakis
But how do you make them last that long? I find that they are empty long before that.......
That's for sure.
As soon as I see a product with a lot of "analogue" explanations of its value, and a lot of case studies from people like Mrs Jones from Burslem then I am suspicious.
Once there are the marketing promotions for the first customers in the area, one intuitively knows that it is another case of Deceptus Doubleglazia.

Reply to
Andy Hall

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