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Solar in the UK

Fig 1 shows the total average solar radiation falling on one square metre surface inclined at 30 degrees to the horizontal, measured in kilowatt hours.

Map of the UK showing solar irradiation

Fig.1 UK solar irradiation Annual Total kWh/m2

Map source: Solar Trade Association (STA)

These figures bring out the remarkable fact that the amount of solar energy falling on the total roof area of an average house is many times that required to provide all its heating and hot water.

However, we must note that there is a large difference between the radiation available in the summer and that available in winter; also Active Solar Heating systems will typically convert 40 to 50% of the solar energy falling on the solar collectors into useful heated water. These factors must be taken into account in determining the optimum size for a system.