Solar Water Heating


Cost-efficient and carbon-neutral water heating

Most of us take hot water for granted. It’s usually provided from your tap on demand and heated by a variety of sources – the most common being a gas boiler. But it doesn’t have to be that way. You now have the opportunity to provide hot water for your home by using the energy provided by the sun. Increasing numbers of homeowners are taking advantage of solar hot water to provide some of their hot water needs.

Some common questions:

  • Will Solar hot water heat my water throughout the year?

Solar hot water works throughout the year, but during winter months some additional heat will be provided by a boiler or immersion heater, to maintain a plentiful supply of hot water for you.

  • Will I save money with Solar hot water?

Following the initial cost of installation, the energy for your system is provided by the sunlight, which of course, is free. This will lead to lower costs for providing hot water in your home. You can expect to save between £60 and £100 per year by installing a solar hot water system. This figure will vary depending upon your current fuel and hot water usage. Maintaining the system is also inexpensive, with checks recommended only every three years. Our team will advise you on the recommended maintenance schedules for your chosen system.

  • Is it good for the environment?

As a renewable source of energy, your Solar hot water installation will reduce your CO2 emissions and, yes that’s good for the environment.

  • What does it look like and will I need planning permission?

Solar collector plates are fitted to your roof, which look like the solar panels, and an increasing number of homes now have them fitted. The difference is that these solar collectors may have tubes beneath their surface. There are various options available, including “in roof” models that sit into, and not on top of, your roof tiles. Usually, you won’t need planning permission, provided that your home isn’t in a conservation area or is a listed building, in which case liaison with your planning authority and conservation officer will determine the possibility of where and how solar collectors may be fitted to your home.

  • How much space do I need and will it work in my home?

Usually, around five square metres of roof space is needed to site the Solar collectors. This can be on a flat roof (with the aid of a supporting frame) or sloping roof that faces East through to West through South. The area of roof chosen will need to receive sunlight for most of the day to make the system effective. You will also need space inside your home to site either a larger or additional hot water cylinder. Inside this cylinder is where the solar heating coil is located. Solar hot water systems work with many existing boiler systems; however, if you currently don’t have a hot water system at home and use a combination (combi) boiler, then solar hot water may not be suitable for your home.

  • Are there any financial incentives available?

Yes, the good news is that at the moment the Government backed Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) is available for Solar hot water. Typically you can expect to receive between £195 and £475 per year depending upon the size of your installed system. Benefits available under the RHI will reduce for those who wait, but once you have your installation and are signed up, you are guaranteed to receive your RHI payments which are index linked for seven years in the case of a domestic customer. To gain the benefit of RHI you must install Microgeneration Certification Scheme (MCS) or Solar Keymark products. At Co-operative Energy Saving we would only suggest that you use these approved products for peace of mind and to ensure that you can claim the benefits of RHI.

Harnessing the sun’s energy can be a great way of providing your home with hot water, and the availability of RHI at present is a big help towards funding your investment in solar hot water. We are here to assist you in making the right decision for you so you can enjoy the benefits for many years to come.

Contact the Energy Saving team now and see how you can enjoy hot water for free provided by the sun.