Stephen Taylor works in the environment sector, but he doesn’t leave his environmental concerns in the office when he goes home. Stephen has a ‘social conscience’, which is evident in his purchase of a solar thermal boiler system.
When the heat exchanger failed on his gas boiler at his detached house in Warrington, Stephen felt that any replacement should benefit from the sun’s energy, which is free of charge and totally sustainable. This decision was made even though Stephen was aware of possible cost implications. As he says, “I know that with solar technology we have to look at long-term benefits. But, I was committed to doing something that would contribute to the welfare of environment.”
The solar package, which consists of a flat plate solar collector with roof fixing kit, 90 litre unvented cylinder and glycol-free drainback unit, appealed particularly because it is designed to work with a combination boiler. This makes it even more energy efficient and kinder on the environment than conventional solar thermal systems, which work within a traditional boiler set-up.
At the heart of the solar boiler is a smart solar valve which ensures that the main boiler is only ever used as a back-up to heat water. When there is an immediate hot water demand, water pre-heated by the sun flows from the cylinder and passes through the solar valve. If the water is at 60ºC plus, it flows direct to the tap – if not, it is directed via the boiler where it is raised to the required temperature.
While payback time is an understandable consideration, a solar boiler does make a significant contribution to reducing environmentally harmful carbon emissions, as well as monthly fuel bills. Independent tests have shown that a solar boiler can reduce the amount of gas used by up to 60%.
Stephen used the internet to research the products available. As he states, “There were systems that heated water for the central heating supply, and others that worked solely with hot water supplies. I decided to go with the latter because I felt that I might not get the maximum benefits from the central heating option. In the height of the summer, the solar technology is basically doing nothing as the central heating is switched off.”
He continued, “I logged onto one site and noticed a smart solar boiler. As I scrolled through the pages, I noticed that a local heating engineer – who I knew – was listed, so I got in touch with him.”
That local company had a good name in the area for environmental solutions, and is always happy to advise potential customers on the Cv ketel vervangen products available and the savings that are possible.
As Dave recalls, “Stephen had spotted the solar boiler on the website, and also noticed it advertised on my vans. He invited me around to discuss the installation of a new solar powered boiler.”
Supplied complete with flexible stainless steel hoses for feed and return, the system’s solar collector measures 2230 x 1120 x 92mm and can be installed in ‘portrait’ or ‘landscape’ configuration on pitched roofs, or in ‘landscape’ configuration on flat roofs with the use of an optional A-frame.
The roof fixing and flashing kit supplied enables the collector to be ‘set into’ the roof so that it’s flush with the tiles. Alternatively, a kit is available enabling the collector to be fixed on top of the tiles.
With a cylinder of just 90 litre capacity, the system is more compact than other systems, minimising the amount of space required to site it – yet it is capable of supplying enough hot water for an average family-sized property.
The drainback unit accepts water from the solar collector, protecting the system from overheating or freezing when not in use. It also contains a heat exchanger that helps maintain the temperature of the water inside the cylinder.