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Solar Information.
solar panel on a houseSolar power is power generated from the sun’s heat and can even works on hazy or overcast days.  The efficiency of solar power systems in Ireland is greater from March until September.  Solar water heaters/panels are a cost-effective, efficient, and eco-friendly way to generate hot water needed for your home. A Solar water heating system collects heat from the sun and uses it to help provide space and /or water heating.  It can provide 100% of your summer requirements and 60% to 70% annually. 
In general there are 2 types of Solar Panels currently on the market for heating water in domestic housing.  These are the Flat Panel and the Evacuated Tube Panel.
There are also Photovoltaic (PV) solar panel systems, which generate electricity, but these are more relevant in relation to generating electrical power. This article is concentrating on the Flat Panels and Evacuated Tube Panels only.

What is the difference between the panels?
There are two main types of Solar Panels available as mentioned above; the flat panel and the evacuated tube panel.  The basic principle of operation for the two panels is much the same.  However, the aesthetics and the efficiency do vary.

Flat Panels.
solar panel imageFlat panels provide an efficient heat source to produce hot water. The main advantage is that they are designed more attractively by being more aesthetically pleasing.  This is achieved by way of its slim line design, which can be incorporated into the roof structure to blend in with your roofline.   These panels are manufactured with relatively durable materials, which require little to no maintenance and have a life span of 20 –30 years.  The flat panel only work to its best efficiency when placed on pitched roofs at an angle between 25 and 55 degrees.   

Evacuated Tube Panels.
Evacuated Tube Panels offer a highly efficient energy source even in less favourable conditions.  The evacuated tubes prevent energy loss during temperature fluctuations. Parabolic mirrors situated underneath direct any radiation efficiently onto the whole surface of the absorber, again increasing efficiency.  The evacuated technology ensures the most effective transfer of energy into heat giving extra performance in comparison to traditional flat panel collectors and providing heat not only on warm, sunny days, but also in colder, windy or even overcast weather conditions.   Therefore these are more suited to areas with less available direct sunlight. Standard output is said to be 20% to 30% more effective than solar panels imageflat panel collectors.
Evacuated tubes are suitable for pitch roof and flat roof mounting as well as freestanding mounting and façade assembly.  The tubes however cannot be integrated into a roof, they are always fitted on top of the roof once it is completed, thus may not be as attractive as the flat panel.
Evacuated heat pipe tubes are very strong but they can lose their vacuum or breakdown individually over time. However the advantage of the evacuated tubes is that even if one tube is broken the remainder of the system will continue to work and each tube can also be individually changed.

Where should I place the panels?solar power diagram
For a Solar Water Heating system to work to its optimum capacity, placing panels on a South facing roof is ideal.  Panels can also be placed on any South facing gables, garages, on carport roofs etc.  It is not advisable to place solar panels on a north-facing roof.  The panel should not be overshadowed by nearby building, trees, chimneys or other objects.  The panels should be placed at an angle between 25 and 55 degrees.


Please refer to our Directory for suppliers and installers of the above products.                                           

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