16 people attended this meeting at which a Solartwin representative made a brief presentation and answered our questions on solar water heating systems and I'm sending a brief report on some of the points which were made. No doubt others will add to this if I leave anything important out. Solartwin has a website www.Solartwin.com which will offer further information. Could those people who want to take this forward please respond and we can form ourselves into a group to take advantage of the available grants. I think it's worth carrying on our correspondence through TT S since this will be our community group if enough people are interested, and we may pick up new transitioners for this project.
1. Financing solar thermal installations; if community groups get together to order several installations (4-6 people minimum) the North West Development Agency, through its Foundation Scheme, will fund 50% of costs and Solartwin will offer a further £400 reduction per order on top of that. This will bring the costs down from around £3299 (standard cost) to £1650.
2. Savings; these vary according to other sources of heat used and the escalating price of these but we could expect an annual saving of around £200 at current prices.
3. Planning permission is not needed even in conservation areas.
4. Viability for your property is established by the company doing a phone question and answer session plus a Google Earth survey. South facing, West facing and East facing roofs are good- anything with north in it not viable. Pitch is not very important. Installation can be done on slate, tile and concrete roofs or in other places.
5. Warranty; Solartwin offers a 5 year system warranty- apparantly a relatively good deal compared to other companies who's warranties may be longer but do not cover the whole system.
6. Efficiency; in the UK we receive 1000 kw hours per year weatherwise. Thin cloud as well as sunshine will activate the system and Solartwin offers advice on how to manage heating systems to gain mazimum benefit.
7. Maintenance; Solartwin system uses no antifreeze and therefore cuts maintanance costs; generally existing cylinders can be utilised and there are ways of using solar together with Combi boilers. Pipework (silicon) is protected against birds and rodents.
8. Ethical company policy is followed; including that Solartwin will not proceed with installations where the customer will not benefit.
I personally was impressed by Chris's presentation and answers to questions and I'm keen to go ahead if we can get the necessary numbers. Dinah