Use free energy from the sun to heat water.
The sun produces an abundant source of clean, renewable energy which with the right installation can provide income and save money on bills. Solar panels should face between E and W and should not be overshadowed by trees, other buildings etc as it reduces performance.
Solar water panels can look a bit like flat PV panels (below right) but there are also tubular systems (below left). Solar water heating panels contain pipes full of a liquid which are heated by captured sunlight.
The heated liquid is piped to either a hot water tank or a thermal store (below left) to heat it up. The output will vary seasonally and as it is not always sunny, it is important that the hot water tank or thermal store has a secondary heat source for when the solar heating is not enough. Most solar water systems only heat tap water (for washing up etc) but increasingly at Bristol Green Doors we see homes with a system integrated with their central heating
Solar water heating systems are becoming common and there are many complete systems on the market. A rough guideline have about one square meter of panel per occupant of the house.
The Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) scheme currently pays a subsidy to people installing Solar Thermal heating systems. The RHI is a government payment scheme designed to encourage people to invest in systems which generate heat from renewable sources. The domestic scheme opened for applications on 9 April 2014. Everyone who has installed an eligible heat system since 15 July 2009 is entitled to apply.Here's how the RHI works
Planning: In most cases, solar panels on houses do not need planning permission. However there are some restrictions, for example, the panels should not project more than 200mm from the roof or wall. Listed Building consent is required if the property is listed if the property is in a Conservation Area, planning permission is required if the panels are fitted on the principal or side wall and are visible from the road.
For key reference for planning guidance see here: http://www.planningportal.gov.uk/permission/commonprojects/solarpanels
Advice - CSE
Advice - Energy Saving Trust (Hot water)
Installers accreditation - The MCS and REAL Assurance schemes are marks of quality and professional excellence