Types of solar panels

Solar shingles

These photovoltaic shingles are solar cells that are designed to resemble the conventional asphalt shingles that appear on rooftops. There are a number of different types of solar shingles, ranging from strip form designs, to the newer style that uses thin solar film technology.

Solar shingles are rapidly becoming very popular, as many homeowners have become aware that there are incentives to installing solar energy systems. These include the feed-in tariffs and solar grants schemes.

As solar shingles reduce your utility bills whilst cutting your carbon footprint, there is no reason not to enquire about having them installed on your property.

With the onset of solar shingles, you can enjoy all the benefits of solar energy systems without changing the look of your home by installing large solar panelling.

Solar evacuated tubes

Solar evacuated tubes are one of the cheapest forms of renewable energy, significantly better value for money than solar panels or wind turbines.

The individual components are made up of a double wall construction of very strong, heat resistant glass.

The outer edge of the inner tube is coated with an absorbent and the inner surface is given a reflective coating.

During the construction stage all the air is removed, creating a vacuum. This stops the tube cooling when not much sunlight is available.

In the centre of the tube is a copper pipe, containing an antifreeze type liquid. As the sun’s rays warm the liquid it enters the pipe network and travels to the hot water tank.

During the process, water gets hotter and the antifreeze cools. The antifreeze then goes back to the outside where it is reheated and the cycle continues.

The evacuated tubes are put on modules, normally in groups of 10 or 20. These require virtually no maintenance throughout their expected 20-year life.

The copper tip inside the tubes can reach temperatures up to 200 degrees Celsius, which can heat water to 90 degrees on hot days.

Even in the winter, evacuated tubes can heat water to 60 degrees and on cloudy days sunlight will still get through.

This is a big advantage over flat plate collectors, as the tubes work even in the coldest months.

Also, if you find water is not heating to a sufficient temperature in the depths of winter, you can heat it further with an immersion heater or gas burner.


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