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Evacuated solar tube installations and industry-leading MCS installers

Evacuated solar tubes are an alternative water heating system, developed especially for northern European countries. Vacuum heating tubes use the sun's radiation, to heat your tank or swimming pool and contrary to popular belief, actually work throughout all four seasons.

Evacuated solar tubes.

Sunshine solar panels. This well-established solar tube technology is widely used to provide hot water for large swimming pools, hospitals and homes.

In a nutshell.

Evacuated tubes, commonly known as solar tubes, are amongst the most efficient of all solar heating panels.

An evacuated solar tube installation is like converting a car into a hybrid running on LPG. After the initial investment, your car or in this case, your home will run cheaply for the 30 years while extending the life of your existing boiler by up to 60%.

What sets a quality system apart is modernising and bringing the heating system up to modern 'building regulation' standards. Installing solar technology is only a small part of that.

From March to October you may not need to use your boiler, and in winter, it will dramatically reduce the need for your gas/electricity use.

The science bit.

Solar panels heat up due to the sun's short-wave radiation output converting to long-wave radiation.


Heat-pipe tubes or direct-flow tubes.
Size: 2040 mm x 1000 mm x 80 mm.
Weight: 50 kg.
Temperature: 40-80° Celcius (104-176° Fahrenheit).
Standard pressure: 3 bar.

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Questions about evacuated tubes

The benefits of solar heating technology:

Thermodynamic panels work night and day, although these aren't eligible for the current incentives.

Independent testing has concluded that solar tubes perform best in the UK climate and flat-plate panels come a close second.

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The real benefits of evacuated solar tubes in the United Kingdom.

Roof orientation?

Most homes are suitable, if you have an S/SE/SW or east/west facing roof space, then probably. Your internal plumbing will need to be checked for compatibility, but this can be done at the quotation stage.

No planning permission needed in most cases.

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Do evacuated tubes work well in the UK climate?

Evacuated tube installations are the most efficient technology for heating.

The UK receives 60% of the sun's radiation compared with the equator. Each square metre of the UK receives between 900 to 1,300 kWh annually of each year. Developed for northern European climates, creating the highest performing technology, even contributing on some cloudy days.

Evacuated tubes were developed for the UK climate; they use a thermos flask principle, which allows the inside of the vacuum tube to get very hot regardless of the external air temperature.

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How much will a system cost?

The cost of a system depends on several factors based on water tank sizes and the number of tubes required. A property assessment and consultation appointment can be arranged.

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What about Combi boilers?

Combi boilers are possible, but please bear in mind that we will need to re-install a hot water tank. Most homes with Combi's will not have the space to install a domestic sized hot water tank. If you can re-install a hot water tank, then yes an installation may be possible.

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Can I install evacuated tubes myself?

In most cases no, however, if one has Part P electrical and plumbing skills, then it may be possible to install in a DIY capacity. DIY evacuated tubes and flat-plate kits are available.

All evacuated tube installations must be carried out and certified by an accredited MCS installer to qualify.

To undertake an evacuated tube installation requires competent, but basic knowledge of plumbing principles. If you are changing the hot water cylinder, then a Part P qualified plumber will be recommended.

The solar tubes come pre-built at the factory, so hoisting the pipes up to the roof using correct safety equipment is relatively straightforward. A scaffolding tower up to roof line level is required for a safe working platform.

The electric setup is essential, but if you are taking an electrical spur from the bathroom area, then a Part P electrical qualification will be required.

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Why is it important to update my hot water tank?

Old copper hot water tanks run exceptionally inefficiently, especially after many years of use. Limescale will reduce performance even further. When installing this technology, it is essential to establish a modern more efficient tank to get the most out of your generated heat gain.

"Adding this technology to an old tank would be like converting your car to LPG gas and running it on semi-flat tyres."

Will it contribute towards my central heating?

This answer on the type installed. We would need to inspect your home to see if the heating management system is suitable. In most cases, this technology can contribute to your central heating using underfloor heating technology, but not all companies, offer this technology.

The evacuated tubes collectors gather accumulated heat, which it uses to heat up a fluid within the panel. This fluid circulates through the solar panel and then through pipes into a heat exchanger. The heat can then be used for hot water or space heating with under-floor heating.

How long will it take you to install my system?

Only a few hours in most cases.

What basics should I consider for an installation?

1. Can you face the array roughly towards the sun? South, Southwest or Southeast roofs are ideal. Even East or West roofs offer 85% performance.

2. Is your hot water cylinder is twin-coiled? It does not matter if not, as we can locate a compatible and more efficient tank as part of your fitting process.

3. Listed buildings, conservation area homes, national parks may require permission. Please consult with your local planning officer.

How long will I be without water during installation?

Only 4-5 hours.

Do evacuated tubes work on cloudy days in the UK?

This depends on which technology is installed and the density of the cloud; flat-plate solar panels do not contribute as much as this technology in these conditions. In average cloud density, the sun's energy can still be used. With very heavy dark, dense cloud cover, probably not. Use your solar powered calculator out on a cloudy day, and it will always work.

It is worth noting that higher quality solar collectors are better at retaining heat at lower solar energy levels than a more inferior collector.

Will you need to change my hot-water cylinder?

No, if your tank is compatible or has a twin-coil unused. In most cases, we update your hot water tank when installing this technology to allow the system to work at its full capacity.

How much CO2 will my system save?

Around half a tonne each year, but this is dependent on how much hot water is used and how you heat your water at present.

What water temperatures can I expect?

A good proportion of the year, temperatures of above 60° Celcius are reasonable, but on a sunny day as high as 80° Celcius.

Is there a danger that the water could get too hot?

The system may never rise above 85° Celcius.

Does my roof have to face directly south?

South is the optimum and southeast and southwest are suitable.

How long do evacuated tubes last?

A modern system will easily last 25-30 plus years.


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Founder of Power My Home.


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