The Benefits and Drawbacks of Evacuated Tube Solar Panels

April 10th, 2017

evacuated tube solar panels on roof

Evacuated tube solar energy panels are the most expensive but most efficient type of water heating solar panels. They have got a conversion rate of 90%, which means they create a lot more heat compared to other forms of solar thermal panels.

How do evacuated tube panels work?

An evacuated tube consists of a smaller glass tube which is kept in a larger tube. The air is normally pumped from the space between the inner tube and the exterior tube, which creates a vacuum insulation layer. This layer decreases heat loss from the solar collector.

The internal glass tube is covered with a selective light absorber, for example aluminum nitrate or titanium nitrate oxide. This helps increase the absorption of solar radiation. An absorber plate runs through the inner glass tube. Usually, this is made from copper, plus absorbs heat then exchanges this to a heat transfer liquid.

Once transfer liquid gets hot, this evaporates then turns to vapour, which rises towards the top of the panel and the heat is transferred using a heat exchanger to a different liquid. The cycle then begins once again after the transfer fluid condenses and drops down again the evacuated tube.

Given that evacuated pipe solar power panels are the priciest, you may be uncertain if they are best for you. Check out the benefits and drawbacks to help you decide.


You’ll produce much more heat when compared with other systems

Since the panels are up to 90% effective, you can create a lot more heat with evacuated tube systems compared to flat plate collectors. Though you may pay more initially, you can heat more warm water, so you’ll save more money.

You’ll save up to £60 per year on your gas expenses

If you have a gas heating system, you’ll save up to £60 every year on your home heating bill. Solar hot water is free to generate, so you will definitely notice the difference on your expenses within a few months.

Conserve 270kg CO2 compared with gas

Solar hot water panels are an easy way to cut your own personal carbon footprint. They generate heat from the sun, a renewable resource, so you will be doing your little bit to lessen the usage of non-renewable fuels plus reverse global warming.

Obtain warm water throughout every season

Despite Britain’s winters being cold, it is possible to still get some free hot water from your solar panels throughout the year.

Earn an average of £349 every year from the Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI)

If you get your system set up by anMCS-registered professional, you might be able to make money for generating heat with your solar system with the government’s Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI). A 2m2 system, which is usually sufficient for a 2 person household, can earn you £200 per year from the RHI, whilst a 4m2 system will earn you up to £345.


You’ll need a back up heater

Throughout the winter season, you might not be capable of getting your warm water your desired temperature. This means you’ll need a back-up heating unit, which obviously will cost money in electricity or gas.

Solar heating panels are often compatible with combi boilers

Combi boilers provide instant hot water and don’t have a separate hot water tank. They’re not compatible with solar hot water systems, so if you want to get a solar system you will have to replace your boiler. This can bring up the price by about £1000.

British Science Week: Find Out How Solar Panels Work

March 7th, 2017

Nowadays, solar panels are a common sight. You can see them installed on people’s roofs all around the UK. These are photovoltaic, or PV, solar panels, which convert sunlight into electricity.

If you’re thinking about installing PV solar panels or even already have them, it is handy to know about solar power, panels and cells.

As it is British Science Week, we thought we’d take the chance to give you a bit of info about PV solar panels and how they operate.

When was solar power invented?

The photoelectric effect was first noticed by French physicist Edmund Bequerel in the 1830s. He discovered that some materials create a small electric charge when the sunlight hits them. In the early 1900s, Albert Einstein developed Bequerel’s findings by describing the nature of the photoelectric effect. Both men’s studies formed the basis of solar technology today.

What’s a solar panel?

A solar panel is made of lots of solar cells. These are tiny devices that convert sunlight into electricity. Solar cells aren’t particularly useful on their own but joined together in a solar panel they can make a significant amount of electricity.

Photovoltaic solar panels were developed in the mid-20th century and were initially used in the 1960s on space crafts. As technologies improved the panels became smaller and cheaper. Today solar panels are reasonably priced and suitable for domestic use.

How do solar cells work?

Every solar cell includes two silicon layers that lay on top of each other. These two layers are treated so that the electrons in the top silicon layer want to move to the bottom silicon layer. When sunlight comes into contact with a solar cell, it gives the electrons power to move. The movement of the electrons from the top to the bottom layer generates electricity.

Solar cell diagram from

After the electricity has been generated, it should be channelled through an inverter. This alters it from DC (direct current) to AC (alternating current). As soon as it’s changed to AC, the electricity can be used to power your property.

So now you should know a little more about solar panels and how they work. If you’re thinking about buying solar panels and want to find out more about them, we can help. Have a look at our information on the solar panel Feed-in Tariff scheme and why you should get solar panels sooner rather than later.

5 Reasons you Should Get Solar Panels Right Now

June 20th, 2016

The government needs 10 million homeowners to have solar panels on their roofs if they are going to meet their renewable energy targets by 2020. That’s why it is paying homeowners for each unit of electricity they produce with their solar panels.

But this incentive, known as the Feed-in Tariff, has a threatened future. Experts now say that solar panels pay for themselves in energy bill savings due to the cost of installation falling by 10% each year.

5 Reasons to Go Solar before the end of the Year

October 28th, 2015

If the government is to fulfil its renewable energy targets, the UK should have 10 million homes with solar panels before 2020. Since 2010, the government has encouraged homeowners to buy solar panels by offering tax-free cash earnings through the Feed-in Tariff scheme (FITs). But that is about to change.

From 1st January 2016, the government is planning to cut the FITs by a huge 87%. This means that homeowners that choose to install solar panels after this date will only get 1.63p/kWh, compared to the 12.47p/kWh they can get currently.


August 28th, 2015

The Department for Energy and Climate Change is proposing to slash the Feed-in Tariff rates for solar PV systems by 87%.

The Government published its review of the Feed-in Tariff scheme (FITs) today, and is proposing deep cuts to all bands from 1st January 2016. Consumers can expect to earn 1.63p per kWh for a 0-10kW system from next year, which is a huge cut to the 12.92p/kWh for a 4kW system currently available until 30th September. If these new cost control measures are ineffective, the Feed-in Tariff scheme could be axed altogether.


What is the Feed-in Tariff?

July 10th, 2015

The Feed-in Tariff scheme (FITs) is a Government scheme that allows you to get money from your energy supplier if you install an electricity-generating technology from a renewable or low-carbon source. Your energy supplier will pay you for the electricity you generate, even if you use it yourself. You can then sell any leftover energy back to the grid. You’ll also reduce your energy bills, because you’re producing your own electricity.


Why should you avoid cheap solar panels?

October 31st, 2013

Have you decided it’s time to start producing your own energy rather than keep paying the National Grid for gas and electricity? If so, then solar panels are bound to have entered your mind as the most popular renewable technology in the UK.

But do you really need to spend the full whack? How about cheap solar panels? Unfortunately, taking this approach can put you in a lot of trouble, as discovered by the NY Times. Budget solar panels are cheap for a reason, and those investing in these products have quickly found there to be major consequences.

Get the most from your solar panels

October 31st, 2013

If the rising energy prices are making your blood boil and you want a way to produce your own power, then you’re likely to have given some consideration to solar panels.

Of course, with solar panels not only can you slash your electricity bills but you can earn a guaranteed income with the feed-in tariff scheme too. This provides you with the opportunity to make an excellent return on investment.

But when the system is up and running, how can you ensure to get the most from it? We offer you the best tips to using your solar panels most effectively.

Get the best solar panel quotes

October 31st, 2013

Before the rise of the Internet it was a lot more difficult to compare prices of certain products. But fortunately modern technology has been of great help in this respect, and within minutes you can compare solar panel quotes in your area.

It doesn’t matter which type of solar panel system you’re after either (solar PV or solar thermal), you can be sure of getting the very best price available. Of course, in today’s world of cowboys and rogue traders it’s increasingly important to trust the company you choose and ensure you won’t be ripped off for the goods.

What are the best solar panels?

October 31st, 2013

Did you know that solar panels have been used in the UK for decades. Probably not, because they’ve only come to the forefront of the energy market over the last five or six years. This is mainly because these days, solar panels offer a more lucrative investment, with both electricity savings and a guaranteed income to benefit from.

The good news is though, the cost of solar panels has reduced quite significantly over the last 18 months, making an investment more affordable. And with the country’s rising gas and electricity prices, solar panels are an excellent alternative to paying grid prices.

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