Thermal - How it works?

thermaldiagramSolar collectors (solar panels) mounted on a roof are connected to pipes containing a heating fluid mixture of water and antifreeze. When the sun heats up the solar collectors, the hot fluid is pumped through the pipes to a heat exchange coil in the new solar hot water cylinder.

Here the captured solar energy is transferred from the hot fluid in the coil to the household's hot water supply. The hot water in the cylinder is connected to the taps, shower, washing machine, etc in the usual way.

On days of limited sunlight, solar energy alone may not be sufficient to heat the household's water to a usable temperature. In this case your conventional boiler or your immersion heater (if fitted) can be used to further boost the temperature of the solar heated water.

Size and Quantity of Collectors 

A good rule of thumb for sizing collectors is to allow 0.7 to 1m² of collector area per occupant (or bedroom) in a house. Commercial systems need careful design according to hot water consumption patterns. However, Norfolk Solar uses computer simulation software to ensure systems are accurately sized according to the needs of our client. The hot water cylinder is then sized to ensure efficient and reliable use.

Position of Solar Collectors

Collectors in the UK work best when facing south and at an angle of around 35 to 45 degrees from the horizontal but systems facing anywhere between east or west will give good savings. Norfolk Solar will use computer simulation to calculate the effectiveness of an installation at the quotation stage so prospective clients can make an informed decision.

There are two main types of collector

flat1  tubes1 
 Flat Plate  Evacuated Tubes

The main difference between the two is that evacuated tubes are more efficient than flat plates.

However, don’t be fooled! All this means is that they take up less space on the roof – perhaps a third less space than flat plates.

For example, if our design process results in a need for 3 m² of flat plate collectors, then 2 m² of of evacuated tubes will produce the same amount of energy.

Norfolk Solar would normally recommend flat plate collectors unless there is a special requirement for tubes, such as a shortage of available space.