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Solar Thermal Systems: How Do They Work

Posted on by Rudkin & Herbert Team

how do Solar Thermal Systems workRenewable energy and lowering carbon footprints has never really been out of the news in the last decade or so. We’re constantly seeking ways in which we can live more harmoniously with the earth and our homes are one of the main areas in which we can improve on the technology we use.

Because of this concentrated effort for renewable energy in the home, solar thermal systems have become more and more commonplace. If you haven’t heard about this new technology before, allow us to talk you through it and the benefits you could see by having it installed for your home.

How Do Solar Thermal Systems Work

The first thing you should know about solar thermal systems is that they are different to the photovoltaic systems which gather energy for many homes. However, in a similar fashion to the solar panels used for electricity, thermal systems also use panels on the roof of your home which are connected to the system.

The panels have liquid running through them which absorbs the heat from the sunlight and takes this heat indoors. The water is pumped through a coil and the heat is transferred to water in your tank via the coil. This should provide you with all your hot water needs for the majority of the year, pushing your energy bills down and reducing your carbon footprint.

Where Should The Panels Be Fitted?

We’ve already touched on the fact that the thermal system has panels, similar to PV panels, which should make it fairly obvious that these also belong on your roof. Many people falsely believe that there is not enough sunlight in the UK for this kind of technology to work, but you’d be surprised by just how little is needed. Of course, the further south you are, the more sunlight it’s thought you’ll get and the greater efficiency you’ll receive – it’s only really those in Northern Scotland who would see little benefit.


For optimum working conditions you need to have your panels angled between 20 and 50 degrees, as this gives maximum exposure to the panels. Another way to boost exposure is to have your panels facing south or anywhere between south-west and south-east, you should also try to keep them out of the shade by removing any branches which loom overhead.

Capacity & Usage

How much you benefit from your system depends on a variety of different things, most modern boiler set-ups are compatible with solar thermal systems as they will accepted pre-heated water, you should also have around 60% of your hot water needs taken care of.

You should generally be able to store around two days worth of heated water from this system but your household habits will inform how much you actually use.


Here at Rudkin & Herbert we are leading experts when it comes to providing solar thermal systems for homes and businesses. We can advise you on where it’s best to install the panels and we can help you set up the new system to work with your boiler. Contact us today and we’ll be happy to help you reduce your bills and your carbon footprint.