Return To Index

Environmental Issues
Going Green

By Alan J Hartley

Solar Energy Using Water Panels.



As far back as ancient Greece scientists realised that a bottle, which was full of water, would get hot if left out in the sun. Nowadays, in very hot weather, people joke about being able to fry eggs on the pavement, or on the metal body of a car. It is from this knowledge that Solar (Water) panels have been developed for domestic heating purposes. In very simple terms they are the same as the radiators in your house. The difference is that they operate in reverse and instead of giving out heat from the water flowing through them they absorb heat. As with many household radiators they are coated on the back with insulation to reflect heat back inside and to further increase efficiency and heat absorption their surface is usually black.

As the water inside the panels heats up from the action of sunlight on it, it is piped round the house for heating, used as hot water in taps, or stored in a water tank for use later. The idea of free heat from the sun is great in principal, but very few people seem to be impressed with the systems that they have had installed according to recent popular press reports. In an existing house much plumbing work is needed and upheaval is caused by their installation. Roof assemblies are heavy for some roofs and systems seem to be expensive for the end results, which can be very poor with our often dull, cold, British climate. This often results in the need for additional back up heating for the night time that also has to be used for some of the day time, in conjunction with the solar panels, to provide enough heat to maintain a decent household and hot water temperature.

The general press give the impression that there are many “Cowboys” in the trade who are very unscrupulous as regards to pricing and the claimed benefits of systems. Perhaps with a little more development, better designs, and better regulation, there will be a place for Solar (Water) Panel heating systems in houses in the UK in future, particularly in new build houses. The trade has been likened to the early days of “Double Glazing” in the UK and as we all know, new houses all have double glazing fitted as standard now and the Government is trying to persuade the public to install double glazing in all older houses as well.



Gardening Tips
By Mrs FM


Unusual & Old
Fashioned Fruit


Herbs & Other
Edible Plants.


Books By
Alan J Hartley