Tipperary Solar Panel Installation
Many of the cheap and cheerful products that are on the Irish market just don’t stand the test of time and are more expensive and less efficient in the long run. You need a flat panel design (as opposed to the tube system – see below) to stand the test of time and to work properly in Irish conditions.
Solar panels work by heating the water in your hot press using daylight (not heat from the sun oddly enough) and are a lot more effective in Ireland than you would imagine. The cost of heating water over a full 365 days can be very high indeed. Solar panels are a very efficient and environmentally friendly way of reducing this cost substantially.
The two systems on sale in Ireland are Flat Plate Collectors and Evacuated Tube Collectors. Tube based systems have an average life span of about 7.5 years whereas flat plate collectors work for over for 20 years with no maintenance. The tube systems are popular because they are initially cheaper and more efficient at collecting heat. Unfortunately they are less efficient at transferring heat through the system meaning that, on hot days, they tend to overheat and shut down.
The picture accompanying this piece is not a brochure shot, it is a picture of the solar panels installed in our own house. You are more than welcome to come to our home in Tipperary to see the system in action. It has been installed for the past 2 years so can fully stand behind its performance over time. The system is installed by a company that does nothing else except install solar panel systems.
Give a call on the number above and we will be happy to facilitate a no pressure visit to see the system in action, in a real world environment. Alternatively you can drop an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
The two prime areas of concern for Solar Panels are Efficiency and Durability.
Evacuated Tubes are sold as being “more efficient”but this is entirely to do with collection – not overall system efficiency. New and inexperienced installers often favour the evacuated tube collector on this basis, failing to realise that the system is very prone to over-heating on bright days.
As one stage of the heat transfer process is more efficient than the next, it generates heat quicker than it can dissipate it, which leads to over-heating. An overheating solar panel system goes into a state of stagnation, which causes the solar heat transfer fluid to turn to steam. The pump cannot pump steam, so the system shuts down until it cools down allowing the steam to condense back to a liquid. The vacuum within the system keeps the excess heat in the collector which prolongs the state of stagnation, as a thermos flask keeps coffee warm for hours.
A Flat Plate Collector by comparison does not have the vacuum insulation, so as and when it goes into stagnation it can allow the excess heat to radiate out, bringing the temperature down, condensing the steam and allowing the pump to switch on and produce more useful energy. This means that, overall, the Flat Plate system is, in fact, a lot more efficient.
On a nice bright day an evacuated tube system will spend a lot of the day shut down full of steam producing no usable energy whilst the flat plate system continues on working, harvesting considerably more energy over the day.
Most solar collectors are obviously roof mounted to access as much daylight as possible. This puts them in the most hostile environment possible as the roof is the most exposed part of any house. Solar systems are also very attractive to birds, who can cause a lot more damage than you’d expect. You wouldn’t accept having to replace your roof tiles every few years so you shouldn’t accept to having replace all or part or your solar collectors every few years either.
Evacuated tubes are inherently fragile in their construction and will inevitably break. A break in an Evacuated Tube only needs to be a hairline fracture (usually caused by a continuous cycle of heating and cooling) for the vacuum to be breached. The result of this fracture will be noticeable by the collection of condensation within the tube itself resulting in the white appearance of the previously dark blue tube.
The material cost of replacing a tube is not too bad, but the call out and labour fees make it hurt. With in excess of 20 tubes on an average installation, the
replacement of tubes becomes a continuous and tedious chore. Without this vacuum to contend with Flat Plate Collectors do not suffer from the same problem and due to their solid construction, should last in excess of 20 years without any maintenance.