Although the April showers seem to have forgotten to make way for summer, and have certainly stimulated interest in rainwater harvesting, there is no reason why households shouldn't be looking to make the most of the sun when it finally arrives.
Heating bills are rising all the time and hot water still needs to be provided during the summer, so it makes sense to use the power of the sun to help offset the cost.
Solar thermal panels are designed to capture the sun's heat to warm water directly - obviously they will work best in direct sunshine, yet even on overcast days a surprising amount of heat can be obtained - top manufacturers claim that up to 70% of a home's annual hot water requirements can be met from solar thermal.
As an added incentive, the Government is keen to support the technology, with Phase 2 of the Renewable Heat Premium Payment scheme running from 1st May 2012 until 31st March 2013. Under the extended scheme, owners of eligible solar thermal installations will receive cash payments of £350.
The power of the sun can also be used by Solar PV systems to generate electricity, and the technology still offers an excellent rate of return. Contrary to the popular belief held by many consumers, feed-in-tariffs are still available to help households easily recoup the cost of their investment and go on to make considerable earnings. Although the tariff levels have been cut recently, falls in the cost of the equipment still means that returns of up to 10-11% per annum are possible.