Our solar panel was fitted in November 2004, so until spring the heat input was not very great. As the days lengthened and became ever so slightly sunnier, the solar panel began to heat up the water in the tank - nothing spectacular, 30 - 40 degrees, but taking the pressure off the boiler - however, the pump was still very noisy, in fact quite irritating. Then one fine sunny day in early May it was quiet - and the temperature in the panel was 110! The pump had broken. Three weeks went by with the panel covered by a blanket until finally the technician arrived to fit a new pump.
Another day of disruption. So now, some 6 months after installation, it seems to be operating smoothly and quietly, and for the last few days (in May) we've switched off the boiler and, on a day of full sun the panel is giving us a tank full of water at about 50 degrees. So, we'll report next time on its efficiency over the summer months.
Report by Ros Alder and Clive Baldwin of Princes Road.