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Buderus gives UK solar thermal

Boiler manufacturer Buderus has entered the UK solar panel market for the first time and hopes to capitalise on this years' 'dramatic increase' in demand for this renewable technology.
Setting the scene from a cottage in Kew Gardens, Buderus launched two types of flat plate collector on April 10. Its mid-range SKN 3.0 solar thermal panel and its high performance SKS 4.0 panel.

Buderus' panels are easily integrated with existing heating systems. They have been created with the installer in mind, and the lightweight aluminium frames that hold the panel in place (with a plug/socket connection) require no tools.

'Many contractors are uncomfortable carrying out installations on a roof and we need to make the installation as simple as possible. 'Solar thermal is not new in the UK but in commercial heating contractors struggle to find the technical support to help them do large installations and that is where Buderus can help' said Richard Evans, Buderus UK's director of commercial sales.

Solar products including solar thermal and photovoltaic products have been sold in Germany and other European countries by Buderus, ever since the firm bought solar manufacturer Solar Diamant in 1997. Buderus boasts 25 years experience in solar heating in Europe.

Flat plates can produce up to 200 degrees celsius while evacuated glass tubes deliver higher temperatures of up to 300 degrees but the latter is more expensive and requires larger investment by clients.

'In the UK, we have started selling what we believe is the most popular choice in terms of investment by the customer, because flat plate collectors are more value for money than evacuated tubes', said Richard Evans.

Heated solar fluid (water and glycol) is pumped from the solar collectors to solar water cylinders through a pumping station. By integrating a Buderus boiler with the solar thermal system, the boiler can be delayed from firing when solar energy is available which creates energy savings of up to 10%. The FM433 solar module with the Buderus 4000 controls platform enables intelligent control with constant communication between the boiler and solar collectors to monitor changes in heat demand.

Buderus' has also unveiled its direct thermal store, in three sizes. It works with the solar thermal system to harvest excess heat (once demand for hot water for the cylinders has been met). This excess heat can then be used for space heating.

Buderus is focusing on large commercial installations including hotels, where there is a huge demand for hot water.

Worcester Bosch, supplier of domestic solar systems in the UK, is part of the Bosch group which Buderus belongs to. Some of its clients requesting large installations have already been directed to Buderus.

Evans said 'The number of solar enquiries coming through to us are rising due to government targets and higher gas prices. We've noted a dramatic increase in the level of interest this year'. 'The trend will be towards centralising heating systems to buy in renewables, particularly for government housing. 'Since we started talking to the market we have already got involved in the planning of projects via Worcester Bosch'.
11 April 2008

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