By Chantal Cooke

Generating your own energy is getting easier all the time – and cheaper too!
If you are thinking about generating your own power then there are seven key options: wind turbines, solar water heating and solar electricity, ground source and air source heat pumps, wood fuelled heating and hydro power.

We’re taking a look at Solar Water Heating in more detail.

SOLAR WATER HEATING systems use heat from the sun to warm domestic hot water. A conventional boiler or immersion heater is then used to heat the water further or provide hot water when solar energy is unavailable.

Solar water heating systems use solar panels, called collectors, fitted to your roof. These collect heat from the sun and use it to warm water which is stored in a hot water cylinder.

There are two types of solar water heating panels; evacuated tubes and flat plate collectors.

Flat plates collectors can be fixed on the roof tiles or integrated into the roof. A boiler or immersion heater can be used as a back up to heat the water further to reach the temperature set by the cylinders thermostat when the solar water heating system does not reach that temperature.

Larger solar panels can also provide energy to heat your home as well – though usually only in the summer months when home heating is unnecessary.
The benefits of solar water heating are;

• Hot water throughout the year: the system works all year round, though you’ll need to heat the water further with a boiler or immersion heater during the winter months
• Cut your bills: sunlight is free, so once you’ve paid for the initial installation your hot water costs will be reduced
• Cut your carbon footprint: solar hot water is a green, renewable heating system and doesn’t release any harmful carbon dioxide or other pollutants
Various grants of up to £2500 are also available to encourage home owners to generate their own power.

If generating your own power is something you’d like to explore further then The Energy Saving Trust website has a simple questionnaire to help you narrow down your options.

To hear interviews about renewable energy type “energy” into the search box at the top right of this page.

About the Author: Chantal cooke is a passionate environmentalist and co-founder of PASSION for the PLANET.

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