Solar PV Panels vs. Solar Water Heating
Are you interested in reducing your property’s energy consumption? Solar energy and solar water heating are two similar technologies that allow you to lower your residential or commercial property’s dependence on non-renewable energy.
While both technologies use sunlight to create energy, they achieve very different results: solar photovoltaic panels turn sunlight into electricity, while a solar water heating system uses the heat from sunlight to heat your property’s water supply.
Both systems are highly efficient, environmentally friend options that are suitable for homes and commercial or industrial buildings alike. Despite this, there are big differences between their results and the technology involved.
Solar Water Heating
Despite looking somewhat similar to solar photovoltaic panels, solar water heating technology operates very differently. Instead of converting sunlight into electricity, solar water heating technology uses the heat from the sun to heat water.
Solar water heating systems capture heat from sunlight via a solar thermal collector – a low-profile box with a similar appearance to a solar photovoltaic panel that sits on your building’s roof, or in an open area that receives ample sunlight.
Small tubes that allow water to flow through the collector are located inside the thin box. The collector is deliberately made using black materials to collect as much heat from sunlight as possible.
As water passes through the small tubes inside the solar thermal collector, it collects heat, increasing the temperature of the water inside the storage tank. This water can be used for showers, baths, heating a swimming pool or even underfloor heating.
Like solar photovoltaic panels, solar thermal collectors only work efficiently when the sun is shining. Most solar water heating systems use an electric heating system to provide consistent hot water in winter or on cloudy, overcast days.
Some homes also use solar water heating alongside traditional gas heating, offering the best of both worlds.
Like solar photovoltaic panel installations, solar water heating systems can range in size depending on the needs of your building. Large solar thermal collector systems are often used to heat swimming pools or supply large buildings with hot water.
Although solar water heating may seem less immediately practical than solar panels, it can have a significant effect on your energy consumption. Most homes use around 25% of their total energy to heat water, making solar hot water an efficient choice.
When installed in an optimal location in a sunny climate, a solar hot water system can heat your home’s water supply to a temperature of 82°C (180°F).
Solar water heating and solar photovoltaic panels can be used together, provided your building has sufficient space, or independently. Solar PV panels can also be used independently to power a traditional electrical water heating system.
Solar PV Panels
Instead of only offering solar water heating, solar photovoltaic panels provide an eco-friendly, cost-effective and efficient source of electricity.
Solar panels produce electricity by converting sunlight into a direct current (DC) which passes into an inverter. The inverter converts this DC electricity into usable electricity for your home or commercial building.
Low solar panel prices and government incentives such as the Feed-in Tariff have made solar panels a more cost-effective option than ever before, resulting in large numbers of UK homes and businesses switching to solar power.
Solar PV panels offer a number of advantages beyond solar water heating. Due to their simpler design – solar photovoltaic panels have no moving parts – they need little long-term maintenance.
It’s also possible to use a solar panel system to heat your building’s supply of hot water. Solar panels can be used to power an electrical water heating system and give your building an eco-friendly, low-emission hot water supply.
You can also use solar panels to provide a source of electricity for your building, alongside gas or solar thermal collectors as a source of hot water.
Buildings with a large amount of open roof space can benefit the most from solar panels. This is because the size of a solar panel installation designed to power an entire home is significantly larger than a typical solar water heating system.
For example, many homes can replace their electrical or gas hot water system with two solar thermal collectors. In contrast, the average home solar energy system has a minimum of four to six photovoltaic panels, and often significantly more.
Which is the best option for your property?
Both solar water heating and solar photovoltaic panels offer significant advantages for your property. They can reduce your energy bills, lower your building’s carbon emissions and provide eco-friendly heat or electricity for several decades.
The best option for your property depends on a number of factors. These include the amount of space available on your building’s roof, your budget and your goals from a solar hot water or energy system.
We’ve helped hundreds of UK homeowners and businesses switch to solar and can create a detailed solar water heating and energy plan to provide your property with a source of clean, free heat and energy.
Would you like to switch to solar but don’t know where to start? We can review your property to determine which type of solar hot water or solar power system offers the biggest benefits from both a financial and environmental standpoint.
Are you interested in solar energy?
From providing your home with a source of eco-friendly, free hot water to creating enough electricity to lower your power bill by a substantial amount, sunlight offers an incredible range of benefits for your property.
Are you interested in solar water heating or solar power? Solar technology is more affordable than ever before, making now a great time to switch your water heating or electricity technology to solar.
We offer high quality solar panels and solar water heating equipment for residential and commercial properties. Our team of solar energy experts and installers can help you learn more about the best solar options for your property.
Contact us today to learn more about switching to solar water heating or electricity and learn how much you could save over the long term with solar technology.