Solar Thermal

What is solar energy?

The sun provides an abundant free source of clean energy that can be harnessed to heat some of your hot water. Solar hot water systems work at their best during the summer months when they contribute towards nearly all of your hot water needs. However whilst they can contribute to some heat in the winter you will need to top it up with help from a boiler or existing immersion heater. Your existing hot water system acts as a top up, working automatically to provide you with hot water at the required temperature when you want it.

How does solar water heating work?

Solar Water Heating systems use Solar Panels, called collectors, fitted to your roof. These collect heat from the sun and heat a liquid inside the collectors which is transferred through a series of pipes to your hot water cylinder.
The system can provide almost 100% of your hot water requirement from April-October. For the rest of the year they will pre-heat your cylinder which reduces the amount of energy required by your boiler or immersion.

This in turn saves you money and prolongs the life of your boiler/immersion.

Types of Solar collectors

There are two main types of solar collectors:

Flat Plate collectors:
These consist of glazed, flat, dark surfaced absorber plate which contains metal tubing (often copper or aluminium). The Plate absorbs incoming solar heat energy and the casing minimises heat loss. A fluid is circulated through the tubing and this fluid heats up as it passes by the absorber plate. Flat plates are best used in the domestic market as they work at lower temperatures and provide more consistent heat all year round. They are more aesthetically pleasing than evacuated tube collectors and can be mounted in either portrait or landscape orientations.

Evacuated tube collectors - direct flow:
These consist of parallel rows of transparent glass tubes which contain an absorber insulated by a partial vacuum. A fluid is heated as it passes through each tube. These collectors are usually more efficient per area of collector but can cause a higher stagnation which leads to increased maintenance. Evacuated tube collectors are more suited to applications where there is a high turnover of hot water i.e. Public bathrooms, Catering, Hotels etc.

Your choice of collector depends on your requirements, roof space and budget.

G.R. Edwardes Ltd only uses market leading products such as the Wagner Euro L20 AR which is fitted with sunarc anti-reflective glass and delivers 6-10% higher solar yields than its competitors ( All G.R. Edwardes Ltd supplied collectors are Solar Keymark accredited and MCS compliant which means that any of our installations will be eligible for the 'Renewable Heat Incentive' (RHI).

Advantages of Solar Thermal

  • You can produce up to 60% of your annual hot water demand through a solar thermal installation
  • Drastically reduce Carbon emissions and improve your homes energy efficiency rating.
  • Solar thermal panels have a life expectancy of over 20 years.
  • Grants are available towards the cost of your solar installation, contact us for latest information.
  • Government Cashback (RHI) ready for generating heat from renewable energy sources when the scheme comes in to place.
  • Generate FREE hot water
  • IMPROVE your home's energy rating
  • REDUCE your carbon footprint


Routine maintenance will be required every 3-5 years to check that your system is working correctly and efficiently.



electricity icon A solar water heating system can provide up to 70% of your hot water requirements, reducing your annual water heating bill significantly. It will also save up to 580kg of CO2 emissions, depending on what fuel you will be replacing.
With our energy saving renewable solutions you are not only using a renewable energy source but also saving money on your fuel bills.

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Want to find out more?

To find out if a solar water heating system is suitable for your home contact us for a free evaluation or just some simple friendly advice.

Contact us