This is what often springs to mind when people mention solar panels. While solar photovoltaic (PV) panels use energy from the sun to generate electricity, solar thermal panels use it to heat water for your home. A solar thermal system works alongside conventional water heaters. Solar water heating systems use solar panels, called collectors, fitted to your roof. These collect heat from the sun and use it to warm water which is stored in a domestic hot water cylinder or thermal store.
There are two types of solar water heating panels, they are evacuated tubes and flat plate collectors. Flat plate collectors can be fixed on the roof tiles or integrated into the roof. Both systems are highly efficient and will produce up to 100% of your domestic hot water needs during the summer months. During winter a boiler or immersion heater can be used as a back up to supplement the solar water heating system when conditions do not allow it to reach the desired temperature (normally 60ºC). Larger solar panels can also provide energy to heat your home as well - though usually only in the summer months when home heating is unnecessary.