Solar Thermal Heating in Northern Ireland: Complete Detail [2023]

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Solar Thermal Heating in Northern Ireland: Complete Detail [2023]

Solar Thermal Heating in Northern Ireland: Complete Detail [2023]

Solar thermal panels are a renewable method of lowering your energy costs by making the most of sunlight. Using less electricity or gas, you can combat global warming by using this natural resource to fulfill half of your annual demands for water heating.

All there is to learn about going solar thermal heating in Northern Ireland is below, including information on the panel’s function and the expected return on investment.

What Is Solar Thermal Heating?

The sun’s rays are consumed by solar thermal panels installed on your house’s roof and turned into heated water for your home. They are roughly the same size as solar PV panels and serve the same purpose of heating water. The infrared portion of sunlight is collected by thermal panels and changed into heat. The liquid in the panels—typically a combination of water and glycol—becomes warmer.

Cold water is continuously warmed as it is provided from the mains by this hot fluid flows through your pipes. Your hot water cylinder will be filled up due to this process, ensuring plenty of hot water is available for showering, washing clothes, and other uses.

Luckily, solar thermal panels are quickly added to current boiler or immersion heating systems. Solar thermal panels are less pricey than photovoltaic (PV) panels.

How Does Solar Thermal Heating Work?

Although the basics of solar thermal technology are pretty simple, creating a system that effectively collects solar energy and converts it to heated water needs cutting-edge technology. Installing solar panels is central to this procedure, which turns solar energy into a helpful resource.

Domestic solar thermal hot water system operates by absorbing solar radiation using collectors on the roof. This power warms the fluid pushed around a tight circuit, past the collectors, and into a coil inside a custom-built hot water cylinder. When not used, the hot water is kept in the cylinder.

Does Solar Thermal Heating Work In Northern Ireland?

Don’t stress over cloudy skies; solar thermal panels will still work in Northern Ireland. While sunlight often passes clouds, thermal panels can work in cloudy weather. According to the Energy Saving Trust, your solar thermal panels provide about 90% of the heated water you require during the summer but only roughly 25% during the winter.

Solar thermal panels will rise in appeal, as 60% of people say they like to go greener because of the growing energy prices. You’ll need an extra hot water supply to comprise the thermal panels’ good but restricted qualities when the sun isn’t shining all day. A boiler or immersion heater will be plenty for the task, and the extra solar energy will aid you in saving cash and fighting global warming.

Is Solar Thermal Heating Popular In Northern Ireland

By the International Energy Agency, 1,569 m2 of solar thermal infrastructure in 2020. It’s the 9th year in a row that the number of solar thermal installations in the country has decreased. The Feed-In Tariff is the chief cause of this fad.

From April 2010 to March 2019, everyone who placed solar panels and signed for this government plan got money for creating solar electricity. Initially, these fees were very considerate, which caused a massive change from solar thermal to solar PV among Northern Ireland homeowners.

This caused the number of solar thermal installations to drop from 90,000 m2 in 2010 to 1.7% of the total in 2020. There is hope for the solar thermal industry today. The end of the Feed-In Tariff has settled the level field, and the IEA believes solar thermal installations will climb again.

How Much Can You Save Using Solar Thermal?

A typical homeowner will spend £4,000 on a solar thermal panel system and recover £1,350 of that cost over the following 25 years, although a gas boiler won’t be cost-effective either. According to government data, solar thermal panels can help lessen your hot water costs by 50%. Thus, the typical family needs 1,460 kWh of power per year to heat its water, and solar thermal panels provide 600 kWh of energy yearly.

Given the cost of gas at 7.4p per kWh right now, gas boiler users can save £54 yearly using pure solar power to produce 730 kWh of their hot water. Of course, putting more panels will boost your benefits, with each extra square meter saving you £21 a year less.

Over this time, you’ll also significantly decrease your carbon impact by 6.6 tons of greenhouse gases. The government’s Renewable Heat Incentive will have raised solar thermal panel users’ savings, but sadly the plan stopped in March 2022.

Government Grants for Solar Thermal Heating In Northern Ireland

Solar thermal system government grants will expire in April 2022. The Renewable Heat Incentive is the most famous government grant for solar thermal installations lately. This plan gave 10.92p per kWh for solar thermal heating, biomass boilers, plus heat pumps; it was canceled and will only exist after March 2022.

The Boiler Upgrade Plan, its sequel, doesn’t give solar thermal system discounts or rewards. The government claims the plan is “aimed at systems that enhance carbon savings,” thus a system must be “able to meet the total space and water heating needs of the property” to apply.

Solar thermal heating won’t exclude you from a heat pump or biomass boiler award. In March 2021, the £2 billion Green Homes Grant was canceled after failing to cut the price of installing green sources like solar thermal panels by two-thirds.

Benefits Of Solar Thermal Heating in Northern Ireland

  • With minimal operating costs and limitless energy.
  • Decreased dependence on fossil fuels.
  • While functioning, there are no CO2 emissions.
  • Due to a component of the energy budget generated by solar, there is a reduced risk of price changes in the markets for energy products.
  • Cost savings from heating water with up to 60% less electricity.
  • Several current systems can be updated with solar thermal technology.


Installing a system is an excellent option to limit your dependence on fossil fuels to use the sun to warm up to fifty percent of your home’s source of hot water. You likely won’t break out, yet you can’t cut out with a new gas boiler if you want to get one. At the very least, you can help reduce the impact of global warming with solar thermal heating in Northern Ireland.

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