14/02/2012

Heat Pumps & Solar Panels

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Solar water heating systems use the sun’s free energy to heat fluid in panels on your roof. This can then be used to supply heat to your general hot water system even on a cloudy day.

This type of solar thermal collector is designed to use the sun’s energy to generate hot water by transferring heat from the panel to a storage cylinder. This type of solar panel does not generate electricity, however they can be integrated with a heat pump system.

When water heating is required, but sufficient energy from the sun is not available, it is usual for domestic systems to have a hot water back up system. A conventional gas or oil boiler, electric element or air source heat pump heating system can then be used to add the extra heat the water requires.

Depending on specific usage, we would expect a properly specified solar water system to provide between 30% and 70% of your hot water needs over a year.

There are different types of solar panels and can also be described as solar collectors. The UK typically utilises two types of solar water heating collector.

•    Flat plate Solar Water Collectors / Panels
•    Evacuated Tube Solar Water Collectors

Air Source Heat Pumps are becoming an increasingly popular choice for home heating. They can be installed in new homes and just as easily retrofitted into renovation projects. But what makes air source heat pump such a viable heating alternative, and how do they work? Quite simply, the air source heat pump has a motor powered by electricity that supplies more energy than it consumes. For every kw unit of energy purchased as electricity, around 4.1 units of heat are delivered.

The unit itself works on pressurising refrigerant to create a heat output. Imagine a refrigerator but working backwards. Air source heat pumps use electricity to power a compressor, which forces gaseous refrigerant through small holes to create heat. This heat is transferred to your heating system, and it’s this cycle which make air source heat pumps so efficient.

Air source heat pumps do not require any land or ground works so are considerably cheaper to install. They are around 15% less efficient than the ground source heat pump alternative, but even with this taken into account the payback periods are extremely low.
We can integrate Air Source Heat Pumps with your existing system. The air source heat pump would directly heat a thermal store or buffer tank, with the heating and hot water being taken from that cylinder.

A backup heat energy being either Gas or Electric is often needed for air source heat pump systems to work correctly. Because of the temperamental weather, the air source heat pump will need a backup heat source in extreme loading conditions. This backup heat can be provided by many different fuel types and renewable energies. We can design a system around your wants and requirements, giving a fully automated efficient heating system all year round.