Solar Thermal Collector Placement

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Solar thermal collectors can be mounted on roof, flat roof, wall or ground. Each has its pros and cons.

Roof mounted

  • Shading does not normally occur
  • Vandalism proof
  • Lowest visibility

  • Fitting relatively expensive
  • Fitting involves risk to life
  • Repair access difficult & costly
  • Thus long life high reliability fittings must be used
  • These extra costs reduce ROI and EROI

Ground based

  • Low cost easy fitting
  • No access repair costs
  • Cheaper materials can be used for panels if desired
  • These make for superior ROI and EROI
  • Gravity circulation usually occurs, giving a bit of harvest when no electricity.
  • Designing to maximise gravity circulation makes ground mount suitable for buildings with no electricity supply.
  • Easy to add reflectors, which can greatly increase output and working season.
  • Easy to add more collector area later.
  • Panels can have their angle adjusted to increase collection
  • Tracking can be fitted to greatly increase total harvest.

  • Uses ground space
  • Not vandal proof
  • Highest visibility
  • Partial shading of skylight

Wall mount

  • Medium fitting cost
  • Some access repair cost
  • Uses no ground space
  • Vertical position affects harvest with most collector types.
  • Partial shading of skylight

Wall mounting above an extension roof makes it possible to use that roof to reflect extra light onto the panels. This extends working season as well as increasing output.

Flat roof mount

Flat roof mouting offers nearly all the advantages of ground mount, but takes up far less valuable space and is lower visibility.

There is one downside: it is possible to damage the roofcovering by inappropriate access or mounting methods.

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