Solar thermal for businesses and the commercial sector

An introduction to solar thermal for businesses

As fuel prices are rising, it is worth considering having a solar thermal heating system installed in a commercial environment to mitigate these rising costs. There are many cost benefits and other advantages to having a solar thermal system as an integrated part of a commercial premises.

If your business uses a large amount of hot water then you may stand to gain from having a solar thermal systeminstalled. These systems would be suitable for businesses across a variety of sectors including agriculture, hospitality and leisure as well as being an ideal technology for new build properties.

Solar thermal can be integrated to work in conjunction with other technologies such as conventional heating or other renewable means of heat or electricity generation. Solar thermal is also an extremely reliable technology with very low CO2 emissions.

A solar thermal system would not, in most cases, be able to generate 100 per cent of a business’s energy requirements but it could still meet a substantial proportion of your business’s needs. For instance it could generate a large proportion of the hot water requirements and reduce reliance on the boiler for this purpose, especially during summer months where heating is not required; this alone could provide large savings for your business.

Adding a solar thermal system that is designed in relation to the renewable heat incentive could add an extra stream of revenue to the business. The renewable energy incentive can increase return on investment and reduce the payback period, as well as reducing the overall energy overheads of the business.


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Renewable Heat Incentive for business – RHI

The renewable heat incentive is a scheme set up by the government to encourage the adoption of more renewable means of energy generation for domestic and commercial use. The scheme aims to achieve its goals by offering financial incentives and there are two phases to the scheme which cover different areas. The scheme is currently applicable to solar thermal for commercial uses.

The relevant phase for commercial use is phase one which covers non domestic renewable installation in business, not for profit, industrial and the public sector. The scheme covers a wide variety of sectors and can include large and small businesses as well as schools and hospitals.

Phase one offers financial incentive to non-domestic energy producers over the life of the installation or a maximum of 20 years, with Ofgem being responsible for the scheme’s administration on behalf of the Department of Energy and Climate Change.

Tariff for solar Thermal

Solar Collector

-Tier 1

Less Than 200 kWth in size

-Tier 1

9.2 (p/kWh)

You will receive payment per kilowatt hour (kWth) of energy use, however if your system is a ‘multiple’ system i.e solar thermal and gas boiler, then you will only get paid for the heat the solar thermal system generates. The terms ‘standard’ and ‘multiple’ refer to the type of metering you have in operation.

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