Content Supplied by Underfloor Heating 1
Renewable energy sources are a hot topic politically and environmentally across Europe and the UK. So, there may be a few questions you need answered about solar energy.

Is it right for UK homes? Is it efficient in the UK? Will I see a return on my investment? After all we do live in the UK, a country not renowned for its hot, sunny weather.

We all know solar panels aren’t going to be as efficient in the UK as they would be in the south of Spain — we simply don’t get the weather countries closer to the equator do. However solar technology is improving at a fast rate and more and more homes and companies are using solar panels. Here is why:

  • Renewable – Solar energy is clean energy that provides you with a 100% renewable energy source!
  • Efficient – With new advances in technology, solar panels perform even on cloudy days. The UK receives radiation in two forms; direct, which accounts for 40% of UK radiation, and diffused (cloudy) which provides 60% of the radiation. With systems providing 90–100% of the hot water in the summer and 75% throughout the year.
  • The UK is deceptively sunny – What might shock you is that the UK on average receives 65% of the annual radiation the south of Spain receives. Another important fact is that the UK has an almost identical amount of solar irradiation as Germany, who is one of the world’s leaders in Solar/Renewable energy!
  • Saves you money – Solar panels reduces your need for hot water to be heated by your boiler/heat pump, therefore saving you money with free energy from the sun.
  • Reduces CO2 emissions – The average system reduces CO2 by around 350–400kg per year.
  • Very low maintenance – The Solar Thermal1 system requires very little maintenance. The system has limited moving parts so is unlikely to ever malfunction.
  • Return on investment – With the April 2014 announcement for the Domestic Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI), the return on investment is excellent. The scheme will pay 19.2p/kWh — as an example the RHI eligible Solar Thermal1 system will provide approximately £163 per panel per year, plus the savings from not using a boiler to heat the hot water when there is solar gain.
  • Infinite – Solar energy will last theoretically forever, whereas fossil fuel reserves have at most 30–40 years left before they are depleted.

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