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Solar thermal: how does it work?

Solar thermal: how does it work?



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Thierry Chaix, Technical Director of the Soleil en Tête network, tells us everything about solar thermal panels, not to be confused with photovoltaics.

What are solar thermal panels for?

Their function is to heat domestic hot water, and possibly heat the house and the swimming pool. Solar thermal panels work like the garden hose that is left in the sun. Water treated against frost circulates in the panels and heats in the sun. This energy is then transmitted to the hot water tank. Thermal solar therefore makes it possible to produce heat and not electricity, as is the case for photovoltaics. With thermal solar, we consume what we produce. And if the days when the production is not sufficient, the additional energy, whether it is fuel, gas or electricity, takes over automatically.

What are the different thermal solar panels offered on the market?

First there are flat collectors, which are plates either integrated into the roof or installed superimposed. Their heat output is 50 to 65%. There are also 2 meter long vacuum tubes. Their yield is better since it is between 70 and 80%.

What is the price of thermal solar panels?

For 4 to 6 m² of panels, which cover 80% of the domestic hot water needs of a family of at least four people, it takes € 6,000 to 9,000 including VAT with a 5.5% VAT. You benefit from 5.5% VAT if the house is more than two years old. Otherwise, VAT is 19.6%. It is an investment but which is gradually amortized thanks to the energy savings achieved.

What is the lifespan of a solar thermal panel?

Manufacturers guarantee their panels for 12 years. But most can last 30 years. And if they are damaged, it is possible to repair them.

Can we benefit from tax credit and / or subsidies to equip ourselves with thermal solar panels?

The tax credit is currently 50% on the purchase of equipment and should normally remain at this rate until 2012. As for subsidies, it depends on the regions, municipalities and departments. Some do. In the best of cases, they are around € 1,500. Technical and financial information from Info-Energie points in Adème.