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Solar Energy: Installing a Solar Energy Hot Water System and government grants

ONE OF the most popular applications for solar energy is the heating of water for domestic use.  Here, Fidelma Matthews from Solar in Spain answers the main questions that people tend to ask about solar hot water:

HOW DOES A SOLAR HOT WATER SYSTEM WORK?
It’s really very simple. In a compact system, where the tank and the panel are one unit, the tank must be placed higher than the collector. The water circulates naturally between the tank and the solar collector because of differences in water temperature. The system has a closed circuit filled with water and an anti-corrosive/anti-freeze solution.

WOULD A SOLAR ENERGY SYSTEM REPLACE MY EXISTING HOT WATER SYSTEM?
Yes it can.  As the solar hot water storage tank comes fitted with an electric immersion heater for periods of poor weather, your existing water heater can be removed.  If you have a boiler that provides heating as well as hot water, solar energy can be incorporated to work with the boiler.

WHAT IS THE LIFE EXPECTANCY OF A SOLAR HOT WATER SYSTEM?
A well designed solar hot water system will last for 25-30 years.

DOES SOLAR ENERGY ONLY WORK ON SUNNY DAYS?
No. Diffused radiation means that a solar collector will still generate a lot of energy on cloudy days. Vacuum tube collectors are particularly efficient in these conditions.  At least 85% of your household´s annual hot water will be heated by solar energy.  

ARE SOLAR ENERGY SYSTEMS EXPENSIVE?
Systems vary in design and size but to give you an idea; a system can be fully installed for less than €59 per month.  In addition, you will benefit from a generous government grant from the Valencia Energy Board of up to 45%.

WHAT IS THE FINANCIAL PAYBACK ON A SYSTEM?
Normally a system will pay for itself within 3-5 years.

ARE GOVERNMENT GRANTS AVAILABLE?
There are grants available for solar energy hot water and electricity systems that are certificated by the Spanish Government and installed by accredited installers.  Solar in Spain is one of the few accredited companies that have been working for many years with the government’s energy department to obtain generous grants for their clients.  Solar in Spain will take care of all the grant paperwork on behalf of their clients.  The closing date for 2011 applications is 15th July. 

WHERE CAN I FIND OUT MORE INFORMATION?
Solar in Spain are based in Pedreguer in the same industrial estate as the Sunday market and customers can call in personally to the showroom.  Alternatively, the website has lots of technical information and the telephone number to call is 902 636570.  Don’t forget if you are thinking of installing a solar hot water system this year your completed application form needs to reach Valencia by 11th July.   

www.sunwesolarcollector.com

The typical household uses 10,000 to 15,000 BTUs of hot water per person per day. A 20 vacuum tube solar collector can produce 30,000 BTUs on a summer day with a footprint on a roof of only 36 square feet. The system can provide 100% of summer hot water ... 
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