How Much Do Solar Thermal Panels Cost
What are Solar Thermal Panels?
Solar energy belongs to a group of energy forms called renewable energy. These are forms of energy which rely on natural sources. Other forms of renewable energy include wind, tidal power and energy produced by rain. Solar energy is one of the most popular of these forms of energy.
Interest in renewable energy has increased greatly in recent years as people and society as a whole have become more interested in environmentally friendly forms of energy. The energy produced by solar power is one hundred percent 'clean' in that its production does not involve the emission of any potentially harmful greenhouses gases.
There are basically two kinds of solar panel - photovoltaic solar panels that convert sunlight into electricity and solar thermal panels which use sunlight to power and heat hot water systems and structures like heated swimming pools.
Solar thermal panels are similar to solar pv panels in that they have a life expectancy of around twenty five years. Solar thermal panels provide free hot water throughout the year and it is no longer the case that they need direct sunlight to produce energy because technology has developed to such an extent whereby panels these days can produce energy from plain daylight so even relatively cooler climates can take advantage of the benefits of solar energy. If you are looking to use solar power purely to provide your household with hot water, then you should choose solar thermal panels, whereas if you intend them to provide electricity then you would use solar pv panels.
How do Solar Thermal Panels Work?
The main purpose of solar thermal energy is to heat hot water. The panels are usually made up of tubes that contain liquid within them (usually water or antifreeze). The liquid is then warmed up and this is then used to heat a hot water tank. The tank can either be installed on the roof adjacent to the panels or can be situated elsewhere within the house. This is in contrast to conventional panels which harness the photons from sunlight and convert them into electrons which in turn are channelled and converted into electricity.
Cost of Solar Thermal Panels
The cost of installing a solar thermal panel system can depend on a number of factors which can include the size of the system you are looking for, what you are looking to use them for and the area of the country where you are looking to have them installed. Generally, having solar panels of any kind installed will be cheaper if you are in a big city or town because there is greater competition for business and this inevitably tends to drive prices down. There are grants available from the government to help with the cost of installation worth around four hundred pounds.
A solar thermal system capable of providing enough hot water for an average household will cost anywhere between four and six thousand pounds to have installed. Installation usually takes no more than two days. The maintenance required for solar thermal panels is very low as they do not have any moving parts. Nevertheless, you should aim to have them checked and serviced by an officially accredited MCS solar panel installer every three to five years.
If you need help finding the best deal for solar thermal panels then it might be a good idea to use a comparison site. They are useful because they allow you to directly compare the prices of installers without having to contact each installer separately. All you have to do is enter a few of your details (the size of the system you are looking for, your available roof space, your location, your existing hot water heating system etc.) and they will list all the best suppliers in your area along with a guide to their prices and contact details, or else they can pass on your details to the supplier who will contact you directly.
Benefits of Solar Thermal Heating
There are several advantages to having solar thermal panels installed. The main advantage is the savings that can be made on energy bills. Once the panels have been installed and paid for, they provide a free source of energy. A solar thermal system can provide around sixty percent of your total hot water requirements all year round. During the summer months, this rises to around ninety to a hundred percent. An average household can save around eighty pounds a year on their hot water bills, although this will obviously vary from household to household depending on your usage.
Another advantage is that it is a completely clean form of energy and involves the emission of no harmful greenhouse gases.