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Renewable Technologies – Solar Thermal

What is solar thermal?

Solar thermal systems allow householders to utilise the power of the sun to provide hot water to their home. With zero CO₂  emissions, solar thermal is an environmentally responsible alternative to traditional energy sources, and can be easily incorporated into a new or existing heating system.

Solar collectors work throughout the year, even in the winter! They operate in both direct and diffused sunlight so they work even on cloudy days.

The basic principles

Solar thermal collectors efficiently extract the energy from the sun and transfer it into a home’s hot water system. Roof-mounted solar collectors are connected to a system which contains a special glycol/water solution. While passing through the collector, the fluid is heated up and then circulated from the panel through to a cylinder where the heat is transferred to produce hot water.

Mounting options

On roof
Collectors are fitted above the existing roof tiles or slates using brackets and mounting rails which attach directly to the roof trusses. This system is available with fixing brackets suitable for all roof tile types, and on roof pitch ranges from 20° - 60°.

In roof
Collectors are set into the roof tiles or slates for a low-profile appearance. The roof surface beneath is closed within an aluminium weathering cassette, incorporating flashings and drainage channels. In-roof kits are popular in new build applications as tiles are not required beneath the installation, reducing roofing costs.

Flat roof
Collectors are mounted onto a rigid A frame structure and positioned quickly and easily on a flat roof or other flat surface.
 

Solar thermal

Solar thermal system design

Solar thermal can easily integrate with conventional water heating systems, with installation typically taking a couple of days to complete. The Grant pump station, which features an air eliminator, allows the system to be both filled and purged of air in a single operation. Unlike other arrangements, there is no need to install an air vent on the roof and also no need for frequent maintenance.

When designing a solar thermal system, there are several factors that need to be considered, including:

  • Location and orientation of building
  • Angle of roof inclination
  • Shading of collectors
  • Collector array in m²
  • Hot water requirements
  • Size of cylinder
  • Pipework requirements

Cylinders

A hot water cylinder is required for all solar thermal installations. Grant offer a universal range of cylinders suitable for combining solar thermal with another heat source such as an air source heat pump or oil boiler.
 

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