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Ideal Partnership – Solar Thermal and Biomass

Biomass and Solar Thermal make for a perfect heating combination. Whether domestic or commercial, these two heating sources are by far the best two technologies when used in partnership, helping to bring down those energy costs.

The Biomass Boiler has to be used as the primary heating source, as it is better placed to deal with the demand for heat. The fuel, be it Logs or Pellets will be cheaper if sourced locally or even free in some cases. Biomass systems are often used in buildings that have a relatively high space heating requirement that is quite hard to reduce even once energy saving measures have been take into consideration; such as insulating.

The Solar Thermal Panels would be the second heating source. The number of collectors are calculated not only by the available roof space, but also by the heating demand. The collectors would supply free hot water all year round, working at their most efficient from the months of April to late September. This would mean less work for the primary heat source the Biomass Boiler; so not only are you burning less fuel, but also increasing the working life of the boiler.

The most efficient use of these two heating sources is to link them to a Thermal Store. This store is well insulated and can hold large volumes of hot water for long periods of time without great heat loss, providing heat and hot water for the property as when required. Using a thermal store is the only way of combining these two technologies, as a thermal store is the only form of stored hot water that can efficiently use the energy generated by an uncontrolled heat source, such as a biomass boiler (Basic model).

When the water inside the thermal store reaches an adequate temperature to supply the central heating, the thermostat on the store will tell the boiler to shut down and will supply the heat to your radiators via a central heating pump. At this point there will be some heat loss occurring in the Thermal Store as the hot water is circulating around the central heating system. This is when the Solar Collectors capturing free energy would maintain the temperature so that the biomass boiler wouldn’t be required.

Unfortunately recent legislation means that Solar Thermal cannot contribute to the heating circuit, requiring the Biomass boiler be installed with a Buffer Tank, which can prefeed a twin coil cylinder that has the Solar Thermal connected to it. This is actually a preferred method of installation, as it will mean the Solar Array can be smaller and the Biomass Boiler will not be needed as much as the Solar only has to heat a smaller volume of water.

In simple terms it is in the winter months when there is less sun and a greater demand for heat that the Biomass boiler will be the primary heat source and in the summer months when the heat demand is low but hot water may be required in the same quantities that the Solar Thermal panels will be the primary heat source.

The working partnership of the Solar Thermal and Biomass is just one of the benefits of the two technologies, but with RHI payments available for them both, there is also a financial reward to be deemed as well.

With the Non Domestic RHI, payback could be anywhere from 2- 5 Years’, leading to profitability for the remainder of the scheme (20 Yrs).

To find out more about the advantages of Biomass and Solar Thermal or what it could offer you, contact Green Phoenix. 01225 580 840