Solar Thermal System Options
Solar water heating systems can be mounted in various configurations depending on hot water cylinder locations available space.
On Roof InstallationThis
type of configuration involves the flat plate or evacuated tube system
sitting on top of the existing roof covering. This is the most common
configuration as it provides a simple low cost solution.
In Roof InstallationIn roof involves integrating the panels into the roof covering. This gives an aesthetic benefit but also increases the installation cost. Roof integration is not available for evacuated tubes.
Flat Roof / Ground InstallationFlat roofs gives more flexibility in terms of orientation and installation angle. Given that the collector sits significantly (>200mm) above the existing roof covering planning permission is usually required for this type of installation.
Wall MountedTube and panels can also be wall mounted. When mounted flat against a wall planning premission is unlikely to be required (except in listed buildings and conservation areas). Tube are ideal for this application as the absorbing surface within each tube can be tilted to the optimal solar angle.
Flat Plate vs Evacuated Tubes
There are two common types of solar collector used in the UK.
Intelligent Energy Solutions install both types. Which is correct for you will depend on the customer's specific circumstances.
Evacuated tube solar collectors are typically more efficient than flat plate collectors. This does not necessarily mean that evacuated tubes can produce more hot water just that the panel area can be reduced. Typically you will find that for a flat plate collector area of 4m2, evacuated tubes need approximately 3m2 for the same size hot water tank. With this in mind, the amount of hot water generated throughout the year will be very similar.
An independent study by the DTI compared a number of different types of system and the panel that produced the most hot water was of the flat plate variety.
The cost of the panels are now fairly similar, but some people believe that flat plate solar collectors are more aesthetically pleasing. However, technically the evacuated tubes should perform better than flat plate systems when the ambient temperature is low, i.e. in winter.
So in summary, where roof area is an issue evacuated tubes are the best option. Otherwise, you should consider both evacuated tubes and flat plate collectors.
Intelligent Energy Solutions is happy to fit either type of system as both work very well.