Solar thermal systems are suitable for more homes than any other solar technology. The factors that need to be taken into account are given below.
Which way does your roof face?
The direction your home faces will determine how much direct sunlight it gets throughout the day, and how much energy your system will generate. If your home faces between south east and south west it will normally be suitable for solar thermal. Alternatively, if the two sides of your roof face east and west, it may be possible to design a system that spans both sides and will still generate the required amount of hot water.
What's the angle of your roof?
Very few people ever have reason to think about this. Most roofs in the UK have a suitable pitch. On residential properties they are normally between 30o and 45o. The difference in angle only makes a small difference in performance. We always check this during the survey.
Do you have space on your roof?
Depending on the size of solar thermal system that you want to install and the way your roof faces, you will need a clear area of between 8 and 12 square metres on your roof. If your roof is an irregular shape, has dormers or other instructions then it may not be suitable – we can advise you about this when we carry out your survey.
In most cases, planning permission is not required for the installation of solar on a roof in Scotland. However, if your property is a listed building, in a Conservation Area or in a World Heritage Area this would be required.
What sort of boiler do you have?
There are several different configurations of boiler and heating system used in the UK. Many houses have had 'combi' boilers fitted in recent years, which means the hot water cylinder will have been removed. Solar heating can be used in conjunction with one, but if your combi boiler is not to the latest high efficiency rating, we would recommend its replacement with one directly compatible with solar thermal.
Do you have space for a larger, or an extra, hot water cylinder?
Solar thermal requires a larger hot water cylinder than normal. The existing hot water cylinder will usually need to be replaced with a combined solar cylinder. These are normally taller than the existing cylinder.
Other configurations using auxiliary tanks and thermal stores can also be used if this is the optimal solution or a requirement of your existing heating system.
If you're not sure whether your home is suitable for solar thermal, just contact us and we can discuss this in more detail.