Is a solar water heating system suitable for my home?
To tell if solar water heating is right for you, there are a few key questions to consider:
* Do you have a sunny place to put solar panels? You’ll need around 5 square metres of roof space which faces east to west through south and receives direct sunlight for the main part of the day. Alternatively, if you do not have a south facing roof and if you have space, you could install two panels, one facing east and one facing west – but this will make installation more costly. The panels don’t always have to be mounted on a roof, they can be fixed to a frame on flat roofs.
* Do you have space for a larger, or an extra, hot water cylinder? If a dedicated solar cylinder is not already installed then you will need to replace the existing cylinder, or add a dedicated cylinder with a solar heating coil.
* Is your current boiler compatible with solar water heating? Most conventional boiler and hot water cylinder systems are compatible with solar water heating. If your boiler is a combination boiler (combi) and you don’t currently have a hot water tank then a solar hot water system may not be compatible.
* Do you need planning permission? In England most solar water heating systems don’t need planning permission, but it is always best to consult your local planning office if you live in a Listed Building, or a building in Conservation Area or World Heritage Site. If you live in Wales, Scotland or Northern Ireland you will need to consult your local authority.