Solar water heating uses free energy from the sun to heat water for use in your home. That means you use less traditional energy - doing some good for the environment and your wallet. Sounds too good to be true? Well, there are a few variables you'll need to consider when deciding whether or not a solar hot water system is right for you. These include the environment you live in, the type of water heating system you currently have installed, and the size of your household. Read on to get informed and find out whether solar hot water could save you money.
Do you have enough sunlight?
It's no surprise that solar energy relies on sunlight, but it can be confusing to work out how much you need. A minimum 8 square meters of roof space is needed to install a solar panel on top of your house, but more space is preferable. The more panels you can install; the more energy you'll save.
The location matters too - the panel should be facing as close as possible to true north in order to make the most of the sun hitting from this direction. A 90-degree tilt is ideal - panels placed on a flat roof won't be as effective. If your roof isn't a viable option, then solar panels can be fixed to a frame and attached to a wall or flat surface at the appropriate angle.
Do you have room for a new hot water cylinder?
Solar water heating works by storing heated water in a cylinder, then using a traditional boiler or heater to warm it up even more where necessary. This means you'll need a newer, larger hot water cylinder than you currently have installed. It's important to make sure that you have space for a large cylinder, and you should also make sure that the installation of this is included in the price for your solar hot water system.
Is your boiler compatible with solar heating?
Most boilers are compatible with solar heating systems, but you'll need to check. If your boiler isn't right, then you'll need a new one installed at the same time as your heating system. This is an extra cost to factor in when deciding whether or not solar hot water is the right choice for you.
Are you eligible for a solar hot water rebate?
In some circumstances, you may be eligible for a rebate which will reduce the costs of your solar hot water system. Schemes can vary from area to area, so it's best to ask a local solar energy installation provider for all the details. If you qualify, you could save even more cash.