banner illustrating solar thermal panels - using the sun to heat your water

Why Choose Solar Thermal

Reduce Your Water Heating Costs.

Free Hot Water Throughout The Year

Using commercial and industrial solar thermal panels for hot water production is a long established energy saving system.

Commercial solar thermal systems work alongside existing heating systems and are particularly well suited to integration with heat pumps.

Although solar thermal panels work all year round, heating around 80-90% of your hot water in summer, a conventional boiler or immersion heater can be required to make the water hotter during the winter months.

“Solar water heating systems reduce
energy consumption and cut costs.”

Reduced Carbon Footprint

A typical Solar water system may save up to 350kg of CO2 per year compared to water heated by gas or electricity.

Earn As You Save

You will also be able to receive payments for the heat you generate from a solar water heating system through the government’s Renewable Heat Incentive.

For example, a typical dairy farm:

Most dairy farms have a high hot water demand and use electricity as their main source of fuel, making them particularly suitable for a large-scale solar thermal panels system.

Systems size = 21m² (8 x flat plate solar thermal panels, 1 x 1,000 litre buffer store)

Approximate cost = £10,000 (+VAT)

For a typical dairy farm the payback calculations for a solar thermal system would look like this:

RHI Payback Calculations:

Figures given are per year, and (in brackets) over a 20-year lifetime of RHI payments:

Estimated energy generation: 6,858.1 kWh* (137,162 kWh*)

Estimated income from the RHI @ current rate of 8.9p per unit, index linked: £610.37 (£12,207.42)

Estimated minimum savings on electricity bill (likely to rise as energy costs rise): £960.13 (£19,202.60)

Income + savings: £1,570.50 (£31,410.00) Estimated payback time = 6.4 years

(Calculated using Polysun simulation software)

You may also be able to get help with the installation costs of solar thermal panels through the Renewable Heat Premium Payment scheme.

Is My Property Suitable For Solar Thermal Panels?

Getting the site right.

The first important thing to remember is that solar thermal systems are site specific. They are only suitable where there is a heat or hot water demand.

Unlike solar PV, if there is no on-site demand then there is nowhere for the energy to go and you will not get any benefit from the system. The bigger the demand, the bigger the potential benefits from a solar thermal system.

Phase one of the RHI (for non-domestic properties) requires the use of heat metering to determine the amount of energy units generated and where the energy is used. Ensuring systems are designed and working efficiently will be key to ensuring a good return on investment and a long lifespan.

If you can get the site and the design of a system correct, then the potential returns can be very attractive.

Typical sites that could benefit from a solar thermal system would include sports clubs, swimming pools, care homes, hospitals, dairy farms and or camp sites.

If you answer yes to the following questions your home could be suitable for a solar thermal installation.

“Most roofs are more than capable
of supporting a solar thermal system”

Does your roof face the sun

Does Your Roof Face The Sun?

It is best if your roof is South facing, but East and West facing properties can also benefit from our split systems which makes the most of the sun from either direction. You will need around five square meters of roof space.

Does your roof have the right pitch

Is The Chosen Area Shaded?

If other buildings, trees or chimneystacks cast shadows on your roof, it may not be appropriate to install solar panels on your roof. However, solar thermal panels can be installed directly on property walls, so your building may still be suitable for a solar thermal installation.

Does Your Roof Have The Right Pitch?

Most properties in the UK have a roof pitch of around 30-50˚. If your roof fall above or below this figure you may still be able to install a solar thermal panel to your wall or a flat roof.

Is The Roof Structurally Sound?

During our site survey, we will inspect your roof to ensure it is structurally capable of holding the load of the solar panels safely and securely. Most roofs have more than ample capability.

Are There Any Obstructions?

If you have roof windows, vents, or chimneys in the area that your solar thermal panels need fitting, these may need relocating if possible, otherwise they may prevent the install from going ahead.

You will need to replace your existing cylinder or add a dedicated cylinder with a solar heating unit

Is Your Current Boiler Compatible With Solar Water Heating?

Most conventional boiler and hot water cylinder systems are compatible with solar water heating. However, if you have a combination boiler (combi) and you currently don’t have a hot water tank a solar hot water system may not be compatible.

We can of course provide advice on the most suitable boilers. and install them.

How Does Solar Thermal Work?


Solar water heating systems, also called solar thermal systems, use the power of the sun to heat your home’s water.

Solar water heating systems use solar panels fitted to your roof to collect heat from the sun to heat up water stored in a hot water cylinder. This is done by passing a fluid through the panels and pipework, which heats up and is then pumped through a coil within your water cylinder, which heats water in the cylinder to the desired temperature

“Panels collect heat from the sun,
which heats water in a cylinder.”

  Solar heating systems tend to work much better in summer months, heating around 80 – 90% of your hot water, but can still provide significant benefits during winter months too. The solar fluid never touches the water itself, but merely heats the cylinder to the desired temperature through heat transfer.


Frequently Asked Questions


Is There Enough Sun In The UK For Solar Panels To Work?

Believe it or not there is. The UK actually receives the same amount of sunlight as parts of France and Spain. Solar panels are powered by light – not heat or direct sunlight. So even when it is raining solar PV panels are still absorbing more than enough energy.

“Solar thermal installation is fast, with
minimum disruption to your business.”

 Are There Different Types Of Solar Thermal Panels?

There are two types of panels that can be used:

Flat-plate collectors represent very good value for money, and last for many years with minimal maintenance. These systems are usually large glazed panels, which sit flat to the roof. Their format better lends themselves to new builds and buildings requiring a complete re-roof.

Evacuated-tube collectors are a great solution if you only have a small amount of roof space available, as they are known to be more efficient than flat-plate collectors. These systems are also very flexible and versatile, as they can be fitted in any orientation to a pitched or flat roof, as well as being fixed directly onto walls should space be at a premium.

Do You Need Planning Permission For Solar Panels?

Planning permission regulations were altered in 2008 to make the installation of renewable technologies a more straightforward process. This has meant that most commercial solar panel installations in the UK do not require planning permission. We will of course advise on your particular circumstances as part of our initial site survey.

How Long Does Installation Take?

The average solar thermal installation only takes around 5 days. but can vary depending on system size. During this time disruption to your business will be minimal.

Air conditioning by Energy Gain UK

What is the Non-Domestic Renewable Heat Incentive?

The Non-Domestic Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) is a Government environmental programme that provides financial incentives to increase the uptake of renewable heat. For the non-domestic sector broadly speaking it provides a subsidy, payable for 20 years, to eligible, non-domestic renewable heat generators.

Of course this is subject to the detailed scheme rules. Ofgem is responsible for implementing and administering the scheme on behalf of the Department of Energy and Climate Change.

Who Is The Scheme For?

The Non-Domestic RHI is open to the non-domestic sector including industrial, commercial, public sector and not-for-profit organisations with eligible installations, and to producers of biomethane. In the context of the scheme, a non-domestic installation is a renewable heat unit that supplies large-scale industrial heating to small community heating projects.

This includes for example small businesses, hospitals and schools as well as district heating schemes such as where one boiler serves multiple homes. All applications are subject to the detailed scheme rules.

How Do I Claim the Renewable Heat Incentive?

Once you have installed your Solar Thermal system Energy Gain UK will provide you with a certificate to confirm your installation meets with the Microgeneration Certification Scheme (MCS) standards. We will then assist you through the process to complete your claim.

Can I Get Finance?

We have a range of very competitive finance options that we can offer, ensuring we find the best deal for you.

Solar Thermal Installation


Energy Gain has many years experience in the installation and maintenance of solar thermal units. Our teams are carefully selected professionals ranging from project managers, installers and electricians, all of which have now fitted hundreds of solar thermal systems to domestic and commercial premises throughout the UK. Commercial installations can usually be complete in around 5 days.

“Commercial installations can usually be
completed in around 5 days”