The relative efficiency of renewable energy technologies – ie. their ability to transform solar or wind energy into electricity and heat – is a key element in calculating the likely effectiveness and expected ROI of renewable installations. Recently published research shows that solar thermal technology is more efficient than any other renewable system.
According to the latest findings reported by The Global Solar Energy Council on its website (www.solarthermalworld.org
) solar thermal offers the highest energy yield per square metre of any renewable technologies (including PV, biomass or bioethanol). The report also counters any suggestion that the vagaries of the British weather are a significant limiting factor on the efficiency of solar technology.
The article* states:
“The annual energy yield per square metre is much higher for solar collectors than for other renewable technologies…Compared to PV, solar collectors produce, on average, three times as many kilowatt-hours….Compared to biomass or bioethanol, output is in average as much as 43 times their yield.”
Source: Fraunhofer ISE, PlanEnergi and Chalmers University
Our Thermomax solar thermal collectors are specifically designed for Northern European climates. They work from dawn till dusk, producing usable heat even on a cold, overcast, wet and windy day, and delivering an unrivalled transfer of solar energy into heat – a co-efficient of performance (COP) for domestic hot water provision of 20.9:1 compared to a heat pump which has a COP of 1.5:1.
Our solar thermal systems can provide up to 70% of a building’s annual hot water needs, which brings with it financial rewards for property owners as well – and not just in lowering heating bills. While tariffs for other renewable sectors have dropped off, owners of solar thermal systems continue to receive substantial payments from the Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) – a clear acknowledgement of its efficacy.
Indeed, solar thermal systems are so effective at providing domestic hot water that property owners can typically turn off their boilers in summer.
Solar thermal systems are normally roof-mounted and integrated into existing traditional boiler or electric immersion-heated system for space heating and hot water. They work very simply, which is part of the key to their efficiency. When sunlight hits the solar collector it heats thermal transfer liquid passing through it. A pump then circulates the heated thermal transfer liquid from the solar collector to the water tank coil, where its heat transfers to water within the tank. The pump returns the cooled thermal transfer liquid to the solar collector for reheating.
Key to a solar thermal system’s success is sizing the system correctly, so make sure you employ a competent installer to design, size and install your system.