Planning to switch to combi-boiler + solar panels

Hello all
 i am looking for advices here from whoever has switched to combi boiler and solar panels
As my boiler (non combi) is v old (25 years) and i live in a 2bed house with small family, a plumber i recently hired to re-do my bathrooms has suggested to switch to combi..given the small usage of hot water we do,
But in the long term i am also planning to install solar panels in my house, as i want to produce my own energy and not being held at ransom by utilities companies.
So, while i am plannig to switch to a combi, i also want a combi which can work with solar panels.
I was wondering if anyone has done it , and if it is worth it?

Thanks and regards
 Marco


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Comments

  • Netexporter
    Netexporter Posts: 1,033
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    I think you'd be better off with a heat pump, if you want to use your solar electricity. You'll only be driving the circulation pump (and the internal electronics) on a gas boiler. However, the heating season doesn't coincide with the sunny season, so you won't be going off-grid.
  • FreeBear
    FreeBear Posts: 14,251
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    When you say solar panels, do you mean wet panels to heat water or PV to generate electricity ?
    Whilst you can get hybrid gas boilers that could work with wet solar panels, I doubt you would produce enough heat (from the panels) during the winter to make it viable.
    Going the PV route, export electricity during the summer months and get paid for it. During the winter, buy back that electricity to run a heat pump. There are currently grants available to cover some of the cost of installing a heat pump (£7500 ?), and by the sounds of it, you wouldn't need a huge one. You can also get hybrid systems (heat pump plus gas boiler), but you wouldn't get any grants to help with the cost of installation.
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  • Ectophile
    Ectophile Posts: 7,227
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    I'm not sure how a combi boiler would work with solar.  The advantage of a traditional boiler is that it heats a hot water tank, and the tank often has an immersion heater fitted too.  A "diverter" can be installed with a solar system to send any spare electricity to the immersion heater.  This gives you lots of free hot water though the spring and summer.

    Heating the house with solar is unlikely to be successful.  Even when the sun comes out on the winter, the sun is low and the days are short.  But so may days are dull and grey, and the solar won't do much beyond covering your background load.  The only time I find it any use is on a cold but sunny spring day, when the panels actually work better, as they like the cold.  For that, I use electric heaters.
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  • Netexporter
    Netexporter Posts: 1,033
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    I'm not sure how a combi boiler would work with solar.

    It won't, for either sort.

  • QrizB
    QrizB Posts: 13,634
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    I agree with everyone else.
    The main difference between a combi boiler and a regular one is that a combi can provide instant hot water, while a regular one needs a tank.
    Solar, whether solar PV or solar thermal, can't relistically provide instant hot water. Both will only provide hot water when used with a tank. So the advantage of a combi (you don't need a tank) also means you can't easily use solar to provide hot water.
    Of course, if you only want to use solar PV to replace your electricity and are happy to sell your surplus to the grid, a combi won't post any obstacles.
    N. Hampshire, he/him. Octopus Go elec & Tracker gas / Shell BB / Lyca mobi. Ripple Kirk Hill member.
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  • Alnat1
    Alnat1 Posts: 3,152
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    If you did fit a combi now, when you come to replace it next time, you would most likely have to have a heat pump as gas boilers won't be allowed. This would mean fitting a tank again.

    Get an ASHP now, the new tank needed for this will go in where your old tank is. The government is offering £7,500 towards the costs of ASHP installation at the moment, that offer won't last forever. Have a look at Octopus - Get a Heat Pump, they give you a quick online quote, you don't have to be a customer.

    If you get PV solar you will get paid for your export. The credit can build up in your energy account over summer and offsets the cost of the energy used over winter. Don't use solar to heat the hot water, you'll get paid more for the export. There are several Time of Use (TOU) tariffs where electricity is cheaper overnight and this is when the ASHP should be used to heat the tank.

     Another small bonus, you can get the gas meter removed after a heat pump is fitted and never have to pay the standing charge again.
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  • Reed_Richards
    Reed_Richards Posts: 3,985
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    Sounds like you live in a small house so hopefully this would not be an issue for you but:

    I live in a bungalow that used to have a combi boiler.  The boiler was at one end and the bathroom was at the opposite end.  I used to have to run off a bucket and a half of cold water before the hot water from my combi reached the hot taps in my bathroom.  "Instant hot water" - I wish!

    So I converted back to the way my bungalow was built, with a hot water tank in the middle of the building.  I still have to wait a bit for hot water out a hot tap but it's not nearly so bad.  
    Reed
  • MultiFuelBurner
    MultiFuelBurner Posts: 2,756
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    edited 30 January at 7:03AM
    Is you 2 bedroom house middle/end terrace, semi detached or detached?

    The ASHP as mentioned above is a potential option with the £7500 grant it really depends on your lifestyle. Is someone home all the time as I still advocate the best way to run a heat pump is low and slow all day and you really benefit when a household is occupied more than way over a gas CH alternative.

    Otherwise another option for selected hours of heating like getting up and getting home from school/work an air to air multi split heat pump heating only system might be better suited for instant heat when you need it.
    "I can lead you to the money saving well but cannot make you drink from it"

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  • Zandoni
    Zandoni Posts: 3,408
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    I'd be inclined to get a new Combi boiler, an ASHP will be a bit of a push in a small house.
  • FreeBear
    FreeBear Posts: 14,251
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    Sounds like you live in a small house so hopefully this would not be an issue for you but:

    I live in a bungalow that used to have a combi boiler.  The boiler was at one end and the bathroom was at the opposite end.  I used to have to run off a bucket and a half of cold water before the hot water from my combi reached the hot taps in my bathroom.  "Instant hot water" - I wish!
    Used to have a hot water tank here. Always took an age for hot water come out of the kitchen or bathroom taps. Installed a new combi directly below the bathroom, so now get almost instant hot water there. Kitchen, still have to run the tap for an age - At the end of the day, it is a compromise.
    Zandoni said:
    I'd be inclined to get a new Combi boiler, an ASHP will be a bit of a push in a small house.
    If anything, a small house would be better suited - A lower heat demand, so a smaller heat pump needed. Depending on the type of house, improving insulation levels could be simpler.


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