There were a few things to arrange before the work could start. Grants are available from the Energy Saving Trust® providing £400 for a system such as mine. However, I needed to install some extra loft insulation to get me to the minimum requirement of 270mm.
The quality of the work was very good and from the installation in July up to late September I'd needed virtually no gas heating of my hot water. The pictures here show the tubes on the roof and the new tank and plumbing in my airing cupboard. It's advisable to install a larger tank to get the maximum benefit and although I probably wasn't going to consume a large amount it is a good idea to go for something that fits the size of house so that future re-sale value is achievable.
Once I had the receipt and installation certificate from Solarworks I could apply for payment of the grant that had been authorised earlier.
There was quite a bit of information on the web on how to collect data from one of these controllers. In the end I put together a script to capture 15 second blocks of data every 5 minutes from the COM port on my Mini-ITX server running Linux. The data captured is processed using some C++ code and the output from that compiled into graphs and log files and uploaded to my web site using some Perl scripts that I wrote.
I'm going to put some more information on here soon about the details of the interfacing but if anyone wants help with this then please feel free to contact me.
During April 2010 I added a return flow temperature sensor. This is a pipe-attached version (FKP21) of the sensors that measure the tank temperatures and was quite easy to fit and connects to the S4 input on the controller. Once configured with the type of anti-freeze in the system and the flow rate, the controller can calculate the amount of energy transferred into the tank. I've added the results to my data page as a daily log running since 25th April 2010. It's worth bearing in mind that the amount of heat transferred will be affected by consumption as well as the available supply from the sun.