The most common application of solar thermal energy is solar water heating. Solar panels, generally located on a south-facing roof, transform solar radiation into heat . The heat produced during the day is stored in a large hot water cylinder, so that it can be used at any time. Solar water heating systems can provide up to 70% of a household's hot water (about 1 to 1.5 metre squared of solar panel per person; 50 litres of water storage per meter squared of panel). Such a system will provide almost all of your house's hot water needs during the summer, and will cost between €4,000 and €6,000 to install.
A solar heating support is based on the same type of components but sized to make a useful contribution (30 to 40%) to total heating requirement of the house (space and water heating). For an average house, this requires between 10 and 20 metre squared of solar panels and a storage tank of 800 to 1,500 litres. The sizing and design of a solar heating support requires a careful analysis of the heating requirement of the house by an experienced technician. The cost to install a solar heating support ranges between €8,000 and €15,000.
As it is not feasible to depend on solar energy for your total heating requirements. In Ireland, a solar water heater or a solar heating support needs a back-up heating system such as a boiler, a heat pump or an electric heater. For further information on solar thermal products and grants, click here http://www.seai.ie/betterenergyhomes. Also on the SEAI's site is a Solar Thermal Benefits Calculator which helps you in assessing the economic and environmental benefits of installing a solar thermal system in your home. Costs of installation are specific to each installation, we would be happy to prepare a quote for your house or business. source SEAI