Solar Water Heating

Solar Water Heating, or SWH systems, comprises innovations and renewable energy technologies that have been available for many years. Solar Water Heating is widely used in many countries, such as Turkey, Austria and Japan. The technology uses solar panels to heat water for use in household

There are different types of Solar Water Heating Systems, such as the close-coupled system, which has a storage tank horizontally mounted above solar collectors on the roof, with no pumping required and the hot water naturally rising into the tank. A pump-circulated system has the storage tank mounted on the floor below the level of the solar collectors; the circulating pump moves the water between the tank and the solar collectors, heating up the water for use.

Solar Water Heating systems are designed to provide hot water throughout the year, but can be inefficient in the winter if there is not enough solar energy. Water boilers are usually used, with the Solar Water Heating system helping reduce energy bills.

Advantages for you

Solar thermal is a renewable energy gathered from the sun, there are no bills associated with this type of energy beyond the initial installation cost.

As well as lowering your energy costs, you will also be reducing your carbon footprint.

You may find that you become eligible for payments under the government’s new incentive launched in October 2010 “The Renewable Heat Incentive”.


The cost for installing a Solar Water Heating system is around £5,000. The savings the system provides are moderate; the system can account for most of your hot water in the summer but can be pretty inactive during the winter.

Maintenance costs are very low, with most Solar Water Heating systems coming with a five years or more warranty. The amount of maintenance they require is also very low, no more than required for the solar panels themselves (check them once a year for efficiency).

Solar Water Heating systems will bring savings to your energy bills, but the amount is dependent on the efficiency of the individual system. You may also be able to receive payments for the heat generated through the governments Renewable Heat Incentive, a scheme to be launched in October

Should I get a Solar Water Heating system?

Before investing in the new system you need to ask a few questions.

  • Do you have solar panels? If you don’t already have solar panels, do you have somewhere for them to go? They need an open area of roof, around five square meters, and need to face south so they receive sunlight for the main part of the day.
  • Do you have space for a larger hot water cylinder? If a dedicated solar cylinder is not already installed you will need to replace the existing one or add a new cylinder with a solar heating coil.
  • Is a Solar Water Heating system compatible with your current boiler? Conventional boilers and hot water systems are usually compatible with solar water heating, but some Combi Boilers may not be. An accredited installer will be able to check and also give advice on the best way to reduce your energy costs.