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KS15: Capturing Solar Energy
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KS15: Capturing Solar Energy

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This publication provides an overview of the available domestic and non-domestic solar system solutions, technologies and applications. It is principally directed at the designers of building services and others who may not be aware of the many solar options available and their possibilities. It will also help clients, building owners and facilities managers to understand the possibilities of using solar technology in their buildings.

Solar radiation is one of the most versatile and plentiful sources of renewable energy at our disposal. It can be captured and used both directly and indirectly, and can provide a significant contribution to the reduction of carbon emissions from fossil fuels. Solar solutions offer additional opportuni­ties to meet the requirements of planning policies and building regulations.

This publication considers the technologies available for capturing solar energy and the application of these technologies. It also highlights some of the main design and installation issues and commissioning and maintenance requirements, and provides information on regulations and costs. In order to encourage the inclusion of solar applications into building design the UK government has been, and is, providing a range of incentives and these are summarised.


1     Introduction

2     The use of solar energy systems

3     Solar radiation in the UK

3.1 How much energy does the UK receive?
3.2 How does the amount of solar radiation vary?
3.3 How much does orientation and tilt of a surface matter?
3.4 How important is local climate and shading?

4     Solar collector technology

4.1 Passive solar design
4.2 Solar thermal collectors
4.3 Photovoltaic cells

5     Applications for solar power

5.1 Water heating
5.2 Swimming pool heating
5.3 Air heating
5.4 Solar cooling
5.5 Electricity generation (photovoltaics)

6     Installing solar thermal and photovoltaic systems

6.1 Health and safety
6.2 Materials management
6.3 Scheduling

7     Commissioning and maintenance

7.1 Commissioning
7.2 Maintenance

8     Costs and benefits

8.1 Domestic system costs
8.2 Non-domestic costs
8.3 Payback times
8.4 Other economic considerations

9     Legislation, regulations and planning policy


Appendix: British and European Standards

Principal author: Rosemary Rawlings

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