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Solar Thermal Panels or Collectors

Solar Thermal Panels use the energy from the sun to supply a household’s hot water requirement. They are very popular in the UK with well over 50,000 systems in use.


There are two main types of panels; “flat plate” and “evacuated tube”.


Flat plate collectors are just that; flat plates of black painted metal tubes. The suns energy is absorbed by the plates.


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Evacuated tubes are slightly more high tech, using long glass tubes (similar in design to thermos flasks) and parabolic reflectors to make the most of the suns energy.


Evacuated tubes are much more efficient than flat plate collectors, but the initial outlay is greater.


The panels are mounted or installed on a roof, facing South. The panels are angled towards the sun, usually 30 degrees.


The panels are filled with a fluid (containing antifreeze to prevent freezing in the winter) which is heated up by the energy from the sun. The fluid is circulated, by a pump, to the household hot water cylinder and the heat is transferred via a heat exchanger. In the summer months, most of the hot water requirement of an average home can be provided using this method and approximately half of a household hot water demand annually.



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