According to NASA, the sun is hot enough to completely melt a 2-mile-wide sheet of ice that’s the distance from the Earth to the Sun – in one second.
That’s surprisingly fast – and powerful. So, it’s no real wonder that companies are harnessing the power of the sun for use in the home and businesses through solar panels.
Solar panels are a far more cost-effective and eco-friendly way of providing hot water to your home or place of work. For one, you get fairly consistent hot water throughout the year – no low water pressure, and no freezing-cold showers in the winter!
This kind of energy also vastly reduces energy bills, and can even pay for the cost of installation over time. Those carbon-conscious will also be pleased to know solar panels use a renewable energy source (the sun’s heat), so those CO2 emissions will reduce in no time.
So, solar panels sound like a wonderful alternative to electricity, right? But how do you go about getting them, and what are the things you need to know?
Tip #1 – The direction of your roof is important!
If your roof isn’t south-facing and at a good angle (65 degrees here in the UK), it might, unfortunately, be quite difficult to install solar panels for a water system. To get the best out of the system your roof should be facing the optimum direction and be free from shadows.
Tip #2 – Space is everything
Don’t be fooled into thinking all you need is a good roof – having a solar water heating system installed means you need the space to put a hot water cylinder.
Tip #3 – Not all current water systems are compatible
For example, if you have a combi-boiler you may find solar water systems won’t work too well. This is because combi-boilers require cold, high pressured water to function whereas solar panels input warmer water at a lower pressure.
Tip #4 – Maintenance extends the life of your system
Your installer should provide you with details for any maintenance checks you may need to carry out yourself – some manufacturers offer this as part of the installation, so check with them when you buy.
Tip #5 – Use a lot of water – yes, really
Solar panels are designed to supply heat to your home or business, so it makes complete sense to use up the hot water when you have it – plus, it makes little sense to use electricity in conjunction with your solar panels to heat up your water, as it will cost you more in the long term.
Finally, do make sure you shop around for a quality manufacturer. Don’t be put off by the price of a system, compared to energy bills over the year the solar water heating system will pay for itself before you know it!