The Complete Guide to Solar Water Heating

Jan 03, 2024
Guide to solar water heating
Solar water heating draws power from the sun, making it a more sustainable and eco-friendly solution. It helps cut down on water costs and reduce carbon emissions. Wondering if solar water heating is worth it? Learn more about how it works, its advantages and disadvantages and planning permission in this comprehensive guide.

What is solar water heating?

A solar water heating system (or solar thermal heating system) uses solar panels to heat your water. 

How does solar water heating work?

Solar water heating uses solar panels to store solar energy. The panels contain a fluid made of water and antifreeze. These draw the heat from the sun and transfer it to the liquid, which is pumped around a circuit inside your home. 

What types of solar thermal panels are there?

The most common types of solar panels are flat plate collectors and evacuated tubes.
Flat plate collectors are fixed on the tiles or integrated into the roof. They’re dark, box-like structures containing pipes. They’re the most affordable and common option. 
Evacuated tubes are a bank of glass tubes mounted on the roof tiles. The heat is transferred through a heat exchanger at the top of the tubes, minimising heat loss from the solar collector. They’re more effective but also more expensive.

How much does solar water heating cost?

The average cost for installing solar water heating is between £3,000 and £5,000, but this varies depending on the type of solar panels.

How much can I save with solar water heating?

You could save between £145-£275 a year on energy bills with solar water heating. Most systems come with a 10-year warranty for extra peace of mind.

Advantages and disadvantages of solar water heating

Installing solar water heating comes with advantages and disadvantages. 
Advantages Disadvantages
 It can provide up to 70% of a home’s annual hot water.  It can only be used to heat water or central heating.
 It uses 100% renewable energy, reducing carbon emissions.  It’s not as effective on north-facing roofs.
 It’s cost-effective and low maintenance.  A boiler or immersion heater may be needed to reach the desired temperature.


Is solar water heating right for your home?

If you’re unsure whether your home is fit for solar water heating, some things to consider include:
Your space. You need between 2 and 5 square metres of roof space to install solar water heating.
Your roof direction. It should be south-facing and have as little shading as possible from chimneys, buildings or trees.
Your boiler compatibility. Combi boilers are unsuitable for solar water heating because they don’t have separate hot water cylinders. 

Does installing a solar water heating system require permission?

Most domestic solar water heating systems are classed as permitted development, but restrictions may apply. We recommend checking with your local planning office.

Is solar water heating worth it?

Solar water heating is a great way to reduce energy costs and lower your carbon footprint. The long-term energy savings make it a cost-effective option, especially if your home receives abundant sunlight. 
Ready to buy your new home? Browse our latest developments across the UK – energy-efficient and modern. Our 2 and 3 bedroom homes are ideal for first-time buyers, while our 4 and 5 bedroom homes suit growing families. 
Call our Sales Advisers today to find the right offer and home for you.