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Solar Thermal

This technology is used to heat water using thermal energy collected from the sun and is therefore completely different from Solar PV, which generates electricity. Even a small installation will save you between £50 and £100 a year on water heating costs – if you have lots of roof space these savings can be very significant.

This type of hot water heating qualifies for the Government’s Renewable Heat Incentive scheme (RHI), providing tax-free income for twenty years. 

IU Energy has significant experience with commercial Solar Thermal installations and recently completed a large ground-mount 77kW project. 

It is a common misconception that the climate of the United Kingdom makes it unsuitable for the use of commercial Solar Thermal technology. Solar collectors do not require bright sunlight in order to function; they simply require light and while bright sunlight is obviously ideal, they can still heat water even on cloudy days as solar radiation is still present.

It will be necessary to use a boiler or immersion heater as a backup system to provide an extra boost to your hot water generation during winter.  A solar thermal system is designed in most cases to meet up to 100% of water heating needs during summer allowing the regular heating system to remain unused.  Over the course of a year it will meet in the region of 50% to 60% of needs.

Nowadays maximum solar yields can be achieved even at low external temperatures due to the low levels of heat loss from highly selective coated evacuated vacuum tubes.

You can download a Technology Information Sheet here.

Below are some of our case studies for projects we have been carried out in commercial Solar Thermal, followed by FAQs.


It depends on whether your business uses lots of electricity, or lots of hot water. Solar Thermal is great for hot water.

Yes, and it is applicable for twenty years, so you’ll get twenty years of passive income.

In spring/autumn time evacuated tubes tend to provide a higher energy yield than flat plate systems, however in the summer a correctly sized flat plate system will provide up to 100% of your hot water demand.

Evacuated tubes generally require slightly less roof space to yield the same amount of energy.

Flat plate systems have the benefit of being able to be fully integrated into the roof line, which has a better appearance and also saves money on other roofing materials. Flat plate systems also benefit from lower initial costs and lower maintenance requirements.

Solar thermal systems only require daylight to operate; this means they will still heat water on cloudy days. Whilst most solar energy is generated in the summer months, a solar thermal system will still contribute towards hot water requirements in Spring, Autumn and Winter, providing up to 60% of the annual hot water requirements of a business.

For optimum performance, a South facing roof is ideal for a solar thermal system. However anything between South East and South West also performs well and could generate heat for up to 60% of your annual hot water requirements.

Generally, no. Solar thermal installations fall under permitted development. However, if your property is a listed building or in a conservation area you may need planning permission.

Solar thermal systems can provide for up to 60% of the annual hot water requirements for a building. As we need heat in the winter when solar radiation is at a minimum, solar thermal systems are not suitable to provide a property’s heating requirements alone, however they are ideal when integrated as a pre-heat system for an air source heat pump or ground source heat pump system, which will provide for all the heating and hot water requirements of the property.

Six years on average, although we have many clients who achieved 4.

We’ve been around for seventeen years and are one of the oldest UK energy companies still in business. However, you also have the benefit of Tier 1 manufacturers’ warranties and insurance backed warranties.

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