Summary: How much do solar panels cost, average solar panel installation costs and average solar panel prices.
Solar panels are believed to be the way forward when it comes to domestic hot water. The panels are fitted to your roof to collect the sun’s heat which then heats up water stored in a cylinder. An immersion heater or boiler can be used to further heat the water to the required temperature.
|Solar panels on roof (Installation
|£10,000 – £18,000
Factors to consider
The benefits are that you will cut your energy bills. Many companies are now fitting solar panels and consequently the customer receives reduced bills. You will also reduce your carbon footprint as solar energy is green and renewable. Solar heating works throughout the year but in Britain you will need an immersion heater or boiler as back up during winter.
The sun radiates heat to the earth every day of the year even on the cloudiest of days. If we were able to tap this energy, worldwide consumption for a whole year could be met by the amount of solar radiation reaching our planet every half an hour. This is an incredible statistic and scientists are working constantly to find ways to harness this previously untapped energy.
If your roof space covers approximately five square metres and is in a sunny position you may well be a candidate for solar panels. The roof needs to face south to south west which means it will be in direct sunlight for most of the day. There must be no large buildings or obstructions facing the property which would block sunlight to the roof.
If you are not in this situation, however, you could consider having two solar panels installed on a large frame if you have the space for them. One would face east and one would face west. Installation of this type would be more expensive but you would reap the rewards over the years. If your roof is unsuitable for panels they could instead be mounted on to a flat roof.
A dedicated solar water cylinder would need to be installed but if you do not have room for one then you can replace your existing cylinder. Alternatively you could install a dedicated cylinder containing a coil for solar heating. If your boiler is modern it may well be compatible with solar heating.
With regard to planning permission this is normally not needed in England. However if your building is listed, in a World Heritage site or in a conservation area then it is advisable to consult your local planning department who will be able to give you advice. As a matter of course in Scotland, Northern Ireland or Wales you will need to contact the local authority for your area as different rules apply.
Costs to consider
Roughly, to install a solar water heating system would be around five thousand pounds. Savings are not huge but they do add up over the years. For example, your water heating bill would be reduced by about sixty pounds a year. Carbon dioxide emissions would typically be reduced by around 570kg depending on the type of fuel to be replaced.
Solar heating requires very little maintenance. Once installed, the water heating system will have a warranty of around five to ten years. You need to have a quick inspection of the panels annually and this is something that you could do yourself. The panels should have a thorough check by an accredited installer roughly every five years. Your supplier will be pleased to give advice at the time of installation.
Many television channels currently show advertisements for solar heating. Watch out for them and ring some of the companies mentioned in the adverts. Probably the best way to proceed is to contact your current energy supplier. They will have up to date information on the latest technology as well as installation costs and will be pleased to advise you.
The UK government is obliged to reduce carbon emissions and is very supportive of any energy saving strategies. Many new housing projects will have solar heating panels included as standard practice from now on. This is cutting edge technology and as such should only be installed by qualified tradesmen and is not a job for an amateur. However bearing in mind the savings involved for the home owner as well as the benefit to the environment, solar heating really is a win-win situation. Make sure that you use only tradesman qualified in this type of work. As with any building project, never give money up front. Reputable trades people will not ask for advance payment. You will only need to part with money once you are totally satisfied that work has been done to a high standard and to current regulations. If in any doubt contact your own energy supplier or your local authority.