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View blog posts for category: Solar heat & hot water

Using solar PV to heat your domestic hot water

Posted by Paul Hutchens on 26 May 2011 at 10:25 am

Using solar PV to heat your domestic hot water

Q: Having recently installed Solar PV, I will soon be replacing our old boiler and hot water cylinder. The heating and water run on gas. Does it now make sense to use electricity to heat the hot water for the house? A: This is a really interesting conundrum - well I think it is - but maybe I …

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Do I need a new cylinder for solar hot water?

Posted by Gabriel Wondrausch on 27 January 2011 at 3:13 pm

This video blog explains how to size a cylinder for solar thermal, and whether you need to install a new one. …

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Get the best out of your solar thermal system

Posted by Gabriel Wondrausch on 11 January 2011 at 9:04 am

Installing the solar thermal panels on your roof is just the first step. It's very important to know and work with your system to get the best out of it. Key to maximising the amount of water heated by the sol…

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Why using a solar quote site may cost you more than going direct

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 6 January 2011 at 3:17 pm

Why using a solar quote site may cost you more than going direct

Put solar energy into a search engine and you can almost guarantee that some of the results you get will be solar quote sites. If they aren't in the top 10, they will be in the ads at the side and top of the page. But did you know that you will almost certainly end up paying more for your solar pane…

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Can I use solar thermal panels to heat my house?

Posted by Gabriel Wondrausch on 15 December 2010 at 9:06 am

Generally solar thermal panels are only used for space heating in new build properties in the UK, and not retrofitted into existing houses. This video tells why (with an abbreviated transcript if you prefer to read): On the continent almost 30% of systems a…

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Schools lead the way on energy efficiency

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 28 October 2010 at 3:14 pm

Schools lead the way on energy efficiency

Electricity consumption has halved at an award-winning Devon school thanks to the energy saving measures it has introduced. Okehampton College’s good practice and leadership role was recognised as it was a finalist at the 2010 Ashden Awards. The college has replaced 3,000 fluorescent lights wit…

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Solar thermal panels: flat plate or evacuated tube?

Posted by Gabriel Wondrausch on 8 October 2010 at 9:08 am

Which type of solar water heating system works best. Watch this video to weigh up the pros and cons of flat panel versus evacuated tubes. The main difference comes down to the efficiency. With evacuated tubes, the vacuum provides almost perfect insulation. A fl…

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Solar hot water panels: 7 things to check before you install

Posted by Gabriel Wondrausch on 1 October 2010 at 9:18 am

This video blog highlights 7 things to check before you install a solar hot water system. 1.  The most important thing is to have a suitable roof for the collectors (panels). South-facing is idea, but anywhere between south east and south west is ok.&n…

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Do solar panels affect house sales?

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 29 September 2010 at 3:35 pm

Do solar panels affect house sales?

A solar panel installation should make a house more desirable, shouldn't it? There's the saving on energy bills from using home-generated electricity, and even at the lower early adopters feed-in rate the combination of generation rate and export rate begin to add up to a nice bit of extra income. …

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Solar hot water: It's the best thing I ever did

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 31 August 2010 at 9:53 am

Solar thermal panels are a no-brainer for John Wood of East Devon, as he explains in this video: …

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Solar thermal panels are possible with a combi boiler

Posted by Gabriel Wondrausch on 27 August 2010 at 9:56 am

You will find more up to date information on this subject in this blog (28/1/15).  Solar hot water panels require a cylinder, but it is possible to use them with a combi boiler. This video explains how it works. And for those who prefer to read the information, here's a sum…

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Are council planning departments making it difficult to install solar panels?

Posted by Rob Palgrave on 18 August 2010 at 9:27 am

Are council planning departments making it difficult to install solar panels?

Installing solar PV panels should be easier for home-owners since a planning appeal confirmed what is allowed under permitted development. Planning departments at some councils in England seem to want to make it difficult for householders to install photovoltaic solar panels. But as a result …

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Solar hot water delivered quicker and cheaper

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 20 July 2010 at 9:10 am

Solar hot water delivered quicker and cheaper

A system that delivers solar water heating at a lower cost, quicker installation and with no need to buy a new cylinder was one of the finalists in the 2010 Ashden Awards for sustainable energy. John Willis invented the Willis Solasyphon because he found that the cost and disruption of installing…

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Renewable Heat Incentive: yes please, but with changes

Posted by John Barker-Brown on 9 July 2010 at 11:16 am

Renewable Heat Incentive: yes please, but with changes

First let's get something straight. I think the renewable heat incentive (RHI) is a good idea. Rewarding people for their contribution to reducing carbon emissions is great and will stimulate the market. However, in its current form the RHI may not reduce emissions, and due to lack of Government cla…

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Six tips to save you from solar panel cowboys

Posted by Paul Hutchens on 28 June 2010 at 9:07 am

Six tips to save you from solar panel cowboys

Solar hot water is intrinsically an ethical industry. We all want to save the planet don't we? So we need to ensure that unscrupulous companies do not thrive and give us all a bad name! When there is a chance of making a buck or two it will always attract the greedy and less scrupulous businesses…

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DIY solar panel installation: a case study

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 25 June 2010 at 3:22 pm

Thank you to fuelexplorer for this article:  I did my own solar thermal panel installation, on the slate roof of an old Victorian house, with not the most accessible roof in the world!  Am I pleased with the result? Yes. Could I have designed the system better? Yes. I did quite …

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Renewable Heat Incentive: 'deeming' explained

Posted by Linn Rafferty on 22 June 2010 at 10:53 am

Renewable Heat Incentive: 'deeming' explained

In the proposed Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI), the calculation of how much will be paid for renewable heat production depends on the installation type, as follows: Small scale installation, such as in a home: each installation's entitlement is calculated by multiplying the payment per kW…

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How to avoid bugs in your solar hot water

Posted by Paul Hutchens on 21 June 2010 at 9:07 am

How to avoid bugs in your solar hot water

The plumbing, heating and solar industry is paranoid about legionella and bacterial infections in hot water systems. This is right and proper as the consequences of legionella infection can be fatal in vulnerable people - but it is actually very rare and I am told there are no recorded cases linked …

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Renewable heat incentive: important, but with dangers

Posted by Gabriel Wondrausch on 17 June 2010 at 1:03 pm

Renewable heat incentive: important, but with dangers

The uptake of renewable heat technologies has really dropped off with the renewable heat incentive (RHI) still looming, but no confirmation of the final tariffs or criteria, and the recent removal of the LCBP grants. No doubt things will pick up once the RHI details have been announced there.…

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Ask your MP for clarity about the Renewable Heat Incentive

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 14 June 2010 at 9:44 am

Ask your MP for clarity about the Renewable Heat Incentive

No one can confidently say that renewable heat is a good investment right now, as we don't know whether or not the promised renewable heat incentive will be introduced in April 2011 as laid out by the former Labour government. Making a significant investment when you can't confidently calculate the …

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