Solar heating systems offer a sustainable, environmentally friendly and reduced carbon option for homes and businesses looking to make conscious efforts towards their energy usage. Adopted both residential and commercially, they have moved from the realm of uniqueness and become almost commonplace, with solar panels spotted along most major streets here in the UK. With this and in line with an overall increase in awareness, a rising number of commercial properties are seeking ways to utilise the power of this natural energy to their advantage. In this guide, we’ll go over some of the key considerations you should make during your research stage.

What Are Thermal Solar Solutions?

The technology that sits behind all thermal solar solutions works by utilising and capturing the energy released by the sun. Thermal panels absorb this heat and transform it through a heat-transfer system which gives you a cost-effective method to accessing ample free hot water. It is not to be confused with solar power solutions that generate electricity – instead, thermal solutions just help to generate heated water in a property. It is an older version of modern technology but still has its place in many environments – specifically those that are highly dependent on water.

How Do They Work?

Solar thermal technology sits alongside traditional water heating systems in a property. In the UK, it is used as a booster – offering ample hot water during the summer months and less during our duller winters. Solar thermal panels sit in an optimal position on your property’s roof. They harness the energy that comes directly from the sun through panels. These have a transfer fluid within them (normally a mix of glycol and water) which is heated before making its way to a heat exchanger within the water tank in a property. Once all of the heat has been released, this water moves back to the panels to continue collecting the sun’s energy. An internal collector component is in place to help ensure the fluid circulates effectively when sufficient heat is made available.

Solar Gain

Solar thermal energy works based on solar gain. This means there does not have to be direct sunlight for your panels to absorb energy. There is a weigh-up between direct sunlight and diffused sunlight (also known as indirect sunlight). They both contribute to the collection of energy for thermal energy consumption – in fact, diffused sunlight accounts for approximately 60% of the energy required for this technology.

Benefits of Thermal Solar Solutions

There are a multitude of reasons why a business may choose to implement thermal solar solutions for their hot water requirements. Not only does it provide a cost-effective solution that optimises the available natural light, but it also counteracts the ever-increasing costs of fossil fuels. However, the challenges we face have less to do with the availability of energy and more to do with a lack of consistency. During the summer months, it is estimated that we get the same thermal energy as many spots throughout Europe. However, this drops significantly during Autumn and Winter, meaning that it is impractical to rely on thermal solar throughout the entire year.

Instead though, using these technologies when the energy is available can significantly reduce heating costs – especially when averaged out over the entire year. Other key benefits of thermal solar solutions include:

  • Reduced production of CO2 into the earth’s atmosphere.
  • Independence from traditional energy options, including fuel shortages and prices increases
  • Reduce wear-and-tear on boiler and hot water systems
  • Helping you to gain a more favourable SAP rating which could increase property value
  • Support builders in achieving clearance from Part L of the Building Regulations

What Are They Used For?

Thermal solar solutions can be used for various applications, depending on the needs of the property or the environment in question. This includes everything from domestic hot water, space heating used for underfloor systems, swimming pools in leisure centres or gyms and agricultural purposes where there is a high hot water demand, such as dairy farms. In all environments, they are there to provide a cost-effective, sustainable and eco-friendly solution that meets high demand and makes use of available energy within our atmosphere.

Are They Right for Your Business?

As we mentioned above, thermal solar solutions here in the UK will help to mitigate heating costs. Unlike other countries, we aren’t fully able to utilise them consistently throughout the year. However, during the hottest months, they can significantly reduce the costs of high hot water creation in many businesses. This technology has also been designed to integrate itself seamlessly alongside conventional heating or other renewable means of heat generation. If you’re considering one of these options for your business, consider the following factors.

Return on Investment

The estimate is that most thermal solar systems will offer an ROI in less than 20 years (7-8%). For residential properties, grants and support from the Government are in place to significantly reduce installation costs, meaning you’ll likely only spend ⅓ of the overall costs. In some environments, a return on investment can be seen in under 10 years – specifically if the gains from these panels are more consistent.


Remember that thermal solar solutions generate only hot water – they are not the same as other solar panels that are able to transfer solar heat into electricity. Therefore, only businesses and premises with high water demand need to consider thermal solutions. These include environments such as leisure centres and agricultural businesses. There is a financial output associated with having the relevant equipment installed. Therefore, you need to make a judgement on this matter.

Thermal solar solutions offer a cost-effective, high yield investment for commercial and residential businesses that also reduce your impact on the environment. Here at Energimizer, we have 20 years of experience in the design and supply of environmentally-friendly heating systems. For more information about the options available to you and your business, speak to a member of our experienced and professional team here today.