Last Updated on July 21, 2014 by Mark Lavington
Is it time to heat your holiday home water with the sun?
In recent years solar energy has grabbed perhaps more headlines than any other renewable technology. Creating energy from the sun is an attractive proposition; particularly for holiday home owners whose usage of hot water and other household bills will increase exponentially during the sunniest time of the year.
We explore if solar water heating, using solar power to heat the water of your holiday home is a potential match made in heaven.
How do solar water heating systems work?
The first port of call will be to have solar panels fitted to the roof of your holiday home. Once installed these panels will then collect the heat from the sun and use it to heat up the water in a hot water cylinder for use by your guests.
A common myth associated with solar panels is that they’ll only heat water during periods of glorious sunshine. Whilst potential output during cloudier days will compromised, they’ll still continue to generate sufficient energy from which to heat water. For those holiday homes filling shoulder and winter months the system can also be topped up with the use of immersion heating or a boiler.
Weighing up the costs and savings
Whilst a solar water system can often be installed within a day, the cost of installation is the first potential barrier for holiday homes looking to adopt this technology. A price tag of £3,000 to £5,000 (including 5% VAT) has been enough to deter some holiday homeowners from adorning their property in panels.
There are however significant benefits available for those turning to solar. The first is that sunshine is of course free of charge, meaning holiday homes heating their water through solar power will see a reduction in their bills when compared with gas or electricity providers.
Further financial benefits can also be borne out under the Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI). The RHI is the first of its kind in the world and pays those heating their buildings through renewable energy. It is estimated that a four person household could be paid in the region of £400 per annum if utilising solar water technology.
The benefits of going green
The tourism industry as a whole has seen an increased desire for eco-friendly accommodation. The World Tourism Organisation recently found that one in three people now consider the environmental credentials of their potential destination, with 40% willing to pay a premium to stay in such accommodation.
The average holiday home could reduce their carbon emissions by approximately 350kg of C02 per year if moving from oil to solar water. That’s the same amount emitted by a car driving for 13 hours non-stop or emitted by the average home over the course of 10 full days.
What level of maintenance will your system require?
With many owners living away from their holiday home a system that requires extensive and regular maintenance would in most cases prove to be unsuitable. Solar water systems usually come with a five or ten year warranty, and require very little maintenance after installation.
An accredited supplier should carry out a full check of the system every 3 – 7 years, with basic visual and performance checks being carried out by the home owner on a more frequent basis.
As with any system containing water, despite containing antifreeze it’s important to ensure that during colder winter months there are no issues and that the system is checked for potential frozen pipes or leaks.
For more information on solar water heating for your holiday home please do consult an accredited supplier and be sure to get more than one quote for your system.
Be sure to speak to your holiday home insurance insurance broker and increase your buildings sums insured and to clarify that your solar water heating panels will be covered in the event that they are damaged by a peril, such as storm or fire. For further information or if you require a quotation from a specialist for your holiday home insurance call our team on 01237 429444.