Solar Thermal Panels
Modern solar panels capture energy from both direct and indirect sunlight. They can operate on a free-standing basis or can be integrated into or fixed onto a roof. Solar panels are capable of providing up to 55% of the hot water requirements of a house. This percentage is higher in summer and lower in winter.
Two types are promoted – evacuated tube and flat plate. The evacuated tube type is more fragile and is likely to collect debris around the tubes – requiring maintenance. There are claims they are more efficient but this is marginal. The flat plate type is very strong and maintenance free.
The orientation is best at south or near south.
There are two methods of adding solar hot water to the domestic hot water system – using a cylinder with a second coil or using a Willis Syphon.
2 panels providing 4m² is suitable for 3 – 4 people
3 panels providing 6m² is suitable for 5 – 6 people