Saving With Solar Panels – What You Need to Know


We’re all increasingly conscious of saving energy, both for financial and environmental reasons. Solar thermal panels can provide you with hot water for most of the year. Do they save you much money? (Yes is the short answer). Which system should you choose? How much hot water can you generate and are there grants you can access? We tell you all you need to know about getting solar panels for your home.

Why Go Solar?

There are a few good reasons to think about installing solar panels for your home. Investing in solar thermal panels is a cost saving exercise in the medium term. Once you’re up and running you will be saving on your hot water bills.  There is also the obvious good environmental impact of using solar. Once you use a registered and reliable installer, the process of installing the panels is straightforward and it’s cost effective. Of course, there is also the convenience of having low cost or free hot water at the ready.

The Savings

It’s estimated that to fully heat an average cylinder of water (approx. 120 litres) once a day costs around £1. The average bath uses between 80 and 100 litres of hot water, so a lot of households with use more than one cylinder a day and the costs of hot water can be a lot higher. Installing solar thermal panels can provide you with, on average, up to 60% of your hot water needs over the year. Using solar panels can save you hundreds of pounds over a year, so not only will you cover the costs of installation in the medium term, you will also be saving a lot of money over years of use.

Which Solar Panels to Use?

Your best bet is to get expert advice. At Joule we work with plumbers, builders and home owners, throughout the UK, advising them on the best system for their home and lifestyle. Solar Thermal Panels come in a variety of forms:

On-Roof Solar Kits

On-roof panels fit over the roof covering, with a bracket fixing the collector system to the roof. The Joule Navitas solar system can produce hot water for any home in the summer, autumn and spring months of the year. Care should be taken to match the size of the solar system installed, to the actual volume of hot water consumed in the property.

In-Roof Solar Kits

The in-roof panel differs from the on-roof panel kit as it sits on the roof batons and the tiles or slates flashed in around the panels rather than over the roof covering. Again, the size of the solar system needs to fit in with the hot water demands of the household. You can check out the Joule Nativas in-roof kits here.

Joule Acapella Tube Systems

Joule Acapella tube kits are high performance tube systems. The tubes are designed to be mounted on-roof over the roof tiles. The tubes have an alcohol liquid inside the glass tube. The alcohol transfers its heat into the system fluid through a copper bulb at the top of the tube. The Acapella tube systems tend to produce more hot water compared with standard flat panels due to the increased insulation of the vacuum and the lower boiling point of the alcohol. The increased performance must be closely matched against the hot water load of the property. Find out more about the Joule Acapella Tube Systems here.

Is My Home Suitable for Solar?

The good news is that you don’t need 365 days a year of endless sunshine, for your solar thermal panel to provide you with hot water. Daylight is the key, rather than sunshine. Collectors facing south will get the most light, but south and southwest facing panels will give you plenty of hot water for most of the year, probably only about 5% less than if they were south facing. You can also increase the hot water output by increasing the area that your panels cover, within the limits set out. If there are shady areas, you’ll need more space for panels.

It’s vital to make sure that you’re using the most up to date technology and the most cost effective and efficient systems. Your hot water cylinder needs to be up to scratch and you need to use a quality assured system. At Joule we’ve over 30 years’ experience in the manufacturing and product development areas. We work with home owners, plumbers and building contractors in providing the best solar thermal systems available. Making sure you’re working with qualified experts using high performance systems, will take the hassle out of going solar.

Contact Joule

If you’re a contractor or home owner looking for the best advice on solar panels for the home, you can contact us using our online form or you can email: You can also phone us on  01513551094 and one of our experts will be delighted to chat to you.