Renewable Energy - Solar Water Heating Systems

What Are Solar Hot Water Systems?

Solar hot water systems (also known as Solar Thermal) are a renewable energy source that harness heat from sunlight by capturing energy which is radiated by the sun within solar panels or collectors.

Solar Water Heating is not to be confused with Solar PV (PhotoVoltaic), which is designed to generate electricity. We carry out works relating to solar hot water systems (solar thermal) but do not work on Solar PV (PhotoVoltaic). 

This heat energy is then moved down pipes to the hot water cylinder within your home, reducing the need to use Gas, Oil or Electricity to heat the hot water you require; lowering energy bills as well as your carbon footprint. 

Does solar thermal really work in the UK?

Contrary to popular belief the amount of solar radiation received across the UK makes our country ideally suited to delivering a highly efficient solar water heating system.

The solar heating map highlights the medium to high intensity of sunlight received across much of the UK. 


Do I need planning permission?

Unless your home is a listed building or in a conservation area, planning permission is unlikely to be required as fitting solar panels or collectors would typically be covered by the right to permitted development.

However it is always recommended to check with your local planning office. For further advice on this please visit the Planning Portal, Energy Saving Trust or the Microgeneration Certification Scheme website's.

What is a typical saving?

A typical well-sized solar water heating system can provide up to 60%* of your annual hot water requirement* leading to reduced energy bills. You also will be making a significant contribution to reducing your carbon footprint.

*Source: Energy Saving Trust

Do solar thermal systems only work on a south facing house?

It is always best to fit your solar panels or collectors on a south facing roof however if your property has a suitable roof surface which faces towards the east and west then you may be able to still benefit from a solar thermal system. A qualified installer will able to assist you further on this. 

How cost effective is it?


A solar thermal system offers an extremely efficient way of generating free hot water from the sun.

The only small associated cost of running a solar thermal system will come from the pump which moves the glycol mix down from the panel or collector to your hot water cylinder. This pump however will only run when the temperature in the panel is 8'c higher than the hot water cylinder, reducing your electricity requirement. Solar thermal systems will also benefit you due to their low maintenance design.

The cost of having a solar thermal system installed is likely to vary considerably between different properties. For example the addition of solar panels to a home which already has a System or Regular type boiler rather than a Combi boiler is likely to be significantly cheaper. Further questions such as "will the panels be fitted in-roof or on-roof?" and the ease in which the roof can be accessed will all effect the price you pay your installer for your system.