Page last updated at 17:49 GMT, Tuesday, 8 December 2009
Solar power vision for the future

The installation of a solar thermal water heating system can provide an average 60% -70% saving on the energy used to heat water; this combined with a reduction in CO2 emissions; will make a real contribution towards protecting the environment
Solar systems collect both direct and diffused energy from the sun

Solar energy is one of the key renewable resources being investigated today, says Chris Lord Smith of Llanidloes-based, Llani Solar.

Most of the energy we use in our homes and cars come from "fossil fuels" such as oil, coal and gas.

Even electricity is mainly generated by burning fossil fuels at the power stations.

When we burn fossil fuels, large amounts of carbon dioxide (CO2) are released into the atmosphere, wrapping around the planet to create a greenhouse type effect: hence the term "greenhouse gas".

Modern solar systems collect both direct and diffused energy from the sun and will work even on cloudy days
Chris Lord Smith

Solar thermal energy is a natural resource, which can be harnessed to reduce the environmental impact of heating water.

The installation of a solar thermal water heating system can provide an average of 60% to70% saving on the energy used to heat water; this combined with a reduction in carbon dioxide emissions; will make a real contribution towards protecting the environment.

Once installed you can have year on year of free hot water and a Government grant is available for anyone having an installation fitted by an accredited installer.

Contrary to popular belief, the UK has a plentiful supply of solar energy, an average domestic system can provide in the region of 2000 Kilowatt hours free energy every year.

Modern solar systems collect both direct and diffused energy from the sun and will work even on cloudy days.

Ideally the panels need to be sited on a southerly facing roof, although alternative options are available.

During the summer months, virtually all of the domestic hot water requirement can be supplied from the solar system; in spring and autumn a 50% gain can be achieved, but even in the winter 25% or more can still be delivered from solar energy.

Consumer protection

Solar energy is therefore a cost effective option as a renewable energy source for heating hot water.

Cottage near Rhayader, Powys, fitted with two flat plate solar panels
Solar panels need to be sited on a southerly facing roof

People who are considering the installation of renewable energy products into their homes to combat rising energy costs will be pleased to know the Government launched a new consumer protection scheme in 2009.

This is known as the Microgeneration Certification Scheme (MCS). The primary aim of the MCS is to provide consumers with confidence and protection by guaranteeing that microgeneration products and installers who carry the certification logo meet, and will continue to meet, robust quality standards.

The MCS underpins the Low Carbon Building programme which offers UK government grants for installation of microgeneration.

Grants are only offered to UK householders and other qualifying applicants who use MCS certified products and installers.

Llani Solar was one of the first in the country to receive the new accreditation for both Solar water heating and Biomass (wood fuel) systems.

The MCS is designed to raise standards, protect consumers and to offer information through the certification "logo".

This is the first product and installer certification scheme to cover all the microgeneration technologies.




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