Solar thermal technology, and solar PV are two very different forms of solar technology. As the name may suggest to you, solar thermals technology is used to create heat for your home. Sunlight is collected as it would be via regular solar panels, before being transformed into heat for water or your home in general. It can also be stored and turned into electricity at a later time. Next, you have the solar panels. These utilise PV technology to capture the rays from the sun and directly convert it into electricity.
Solar thermal power is used for heating water, although it can also be used to heat your home as well. The way in which the technology works is actually quite simple. The panels that have been installed on your roof are what collects the sunlight. This then heats up the liquid in the tubes before being transported into a cylinder where it is ready for use.
There are quite a few advantages to using solar thermal technology, and you can find the main ones in this list:
- Solar thermal technology is more space efficient than its solar PV counterpart. So, it takes up less space on your roof
- Solar thermal also tends to be up to 70% more efficient when it comes to collecting hear from the sun’s rays than solar PV
- The technology itself is a lot less complex than solar PV
- It makes the ideal environmentally friendly solution for heating water
- They can be a valuable asset for businesses as they save a lot on energy bills.
There are also some disadvantages to this technology, and they can be found in the list below:
- It is less effective in the winter months when the sunlight tends to be weaker and the weather cloudier
- Solar PV systems tend to be a lot more versatile than the solar thermal ones
- Solar thermal technology has a shorter lifespan than solar panels
- Finding the right supplier can be an incredibly time-consuming process
Selecting solar thermal technology is a great way to go, and you are sure to enjoy this superior energy solution – especially when compared to other forms of green energy. However, solar thermal is still considered to be an option that is exclusively for water heating, as this is currently its best function.
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When compared to solar thermal technology, solar PV is a much newer technology. There are three main types of solar PV technology available. These are:
- Monocrystalline (most efficient and most expensive)
- Polycrystalline (mid-efficiency and mid-price)
- Thin film solar cells (lowest efficiency and lowest priced. Also, most flexible)
What these do is absorb the sunlight and then convert it into electricity by utilising the silicon-based technology they are built with.
There are several advantages to using solar PV panels in your home. Some of the main ones are listed here:
- They are able to provide you with clean, green, energy for up to 50 years
- They have an incredibly long lifespan, especially when compared to solar thermal technology
- They are able to cover around 60% of your household’s energy needs, on average, at this time
- They are incredibly efficient in the summer
- They won’t freeze over during the winter months
- They are able to cover the energy requirements of appliances that have a high-energy consumption. This includes the refrigerator, dryer, and washing machine among others
- The Feed-in Tariff means that solar PV takes a lot less time to pay for itself when compared to other green energy solutions
It is an impressive technology, and one that could really benefit your home. However, there are some disadvantages. Take a look below:
- The initial costs are quite large
- They require a lot more space for installation than solar thermal energy
- Finding the right supplier can be a time-consuming task
As with solar thermal, investing in solar PV is a great choice. It will allow you to benefit from, and enjoy, a superior form of green energy. Solar panels will help to cut your energy bills significantly, and you will also be able to earn money from the Feed-in Tariff.
Which is Best?
Bothe solar thermal and solar PV technology are great forms of green energy, and can provide you with a fantastic environmentally friendly solution. Of course, making a choice between the two can be a difficult process. Solar PV is the newest of the two, but also one that is set to have a lot of success in the future. It’s your perfect solution for electricity needs. If you want something that can heat your water, however, you should invest in solar thermal technology. Something else to consider is the fact that solar thermal systems, especially in the UK climate, won’t produce all the hot water requirements for a property, especially in winter months. A better investment would be a Thermodynamic hot water system if you wish to generate all your hot water requirements from a solar assisted heat pump.
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