Can I fit solar panels to my Combi boiler?
A question we get asked a lot and especially right now when gas prices are increasing at a worrying rate of knots, Can I fit solar panels to my combi boiler?
The answer is a resounding yes and we are already combining solar thermal with Combi boilers very successfully all over the south east.
Why would you want to?
There are many reasons for combining free energy from the sun to heat your hot water. Ultimately this is about making use of a truly sustainable renewable energy source, the sun!
The key benefit of a gas/solar thermal hybrid is the fact you do not need to make any drastic changes to your heating system. It keeps the initial outlay cheaper than a traditional solar thermal setup.
If you already have a combi boiler because at the time this was the most economical option that’s still a good choice. Running an 100% gas or oil boiler will get more expensive in the coming months.
So all we are doing here is using your existing energy source (gas or oil) and combining it with a renewable energy source to maximum effect without compromising on comfort levels or ever running out of hot water.
What does this mean?
- The boiler does not have to work as hard and therefore uses less gas.
- On sunny days no matter what time of year your solar panels will heat a tank full of free hot water to showering temperature without breaking a sweat.
- On not so sunny days the solar thermal will still act as a pre heat to the Combi boiler. The gas will make up the short fall using a lot less gas as the water entering the boiler is hotter than what it would have been coming directly from the road.
- If there’s no sun at all your still heating your hot water very efficiently with a condensing combi boiler as before but uses less gas all the other times of year. Meaning you are still only heating the exact amount of water you need and no more as hot water is instantaneous from a Combi and not stored.
- If you already have a Combi you do not need to change it as long as it’s in good condition which drastically reduces the initial outlay compared to a traditional solar thermal Installation. Firstly we need somewhere to put the solar panels and a hot water cylinder. In most cases we use the loft for this as it keeps the cylinder out of the way and shorter pipe runs are better between to cylinder and panels
How does it work?
1-We Interrupt the cold mains water supply entering your Combi boiler and divert this to a hot water cylinder.
2-The hot water cylinder is then heated via an indirect coil from the solar panels we’ve installed on your roof.
This pre heated water is then directed back towards the Combi boiler via a blending valve.
Depending on the temperature of the water the blending valve will either blend it cooler to avoid scalding water coming out of the taps.
Is the hot water temperature usable the blending valve allows the heated water from the sun to travel directly directly to the taps, still no boiler required.
The only time the water is diverted to the Combi boiler is if it has not reached a comfortable temperature which we can say for this post is 35 deg c but adjustable from the blending valve.
It is then topped up by the gas boiler to a comfortably temperature without you noticing any change in comfort or temperature fluctuation.
It’s a simple but genius system which provides the best of both worlds.
For more information or if you’re interested in this type of hybrid set up please get in touch today.
We will happily guide you through the process to make your home ready for the big gas rises on the horizon.
A free consultation is available via our online booking form.