Solar Hot Water (Solar Thermal)

Sometimes called Solar Heating, most Solar Thermal systems are designed to assist domestic homes with supplying solar hot water. Although the system is often called Solar heating, very few solar thermal systems do more than just heat water. This is how it works in conjunction with a standard boiler setup.

Flat Solar Panels or Solar Evacuated Tubes collect sunlight which in turn heats up fluid carried in pipes underneath a glass surface. These tubes or panels carry the heated liquid into your hot water cylinder through an element which then heats up your hot water.

All solar systems require a Solar heating cylinder which is a twin coil cylinderor thermal store. This will replace your old cylinder and work alongside your normal boiler. The solar panels heat up the bottom of the solar cylinder, the boiler heats up the top. Your solar heating system is rarely independent, and can connect to your other heating systems and boilers.


  • Solar heating (Solar thermal) is one of the most cost effective Renewable energy systems.
  • Can provide up to 70% of of your hot water needs.
  • Wide range of solar hot water products offering great value for money.

Typical Costs and Payback

For Solar heating systems it is difficult to give an exact figure as all houses vary. Often with heating and hotwater systems the efficiency of the house can be a factor itself. Generally you can expect a payback of between 8 and 12 years from a solar heating system which should last 25 years.
Typical costs are for a high quality system are around £3,500 including installation and a new solar heating cylinder.

Solar Electricity (PV)

Photovoltaic solar or Solar Power works by collecting the suns rays on solar panels or tiles made of silicon. These solar panels react to the sunlight and create and electrical charge which is fed into your site via an inverter. Solar PV panels can be connected to your home either directly into the national grid, or as an independent remote power source (usually connected to batteries). PV is the technical name for solar power and stands for Photovoltaic.

Main Benefits

  • Pure green solar PV power for your home or other use
  • You can sell back your solar PV power to the national grid
  • If you use battery storage you can have a useful source of back up solar power if the grid is unreliable where you are

Typical Costs and Payback

Solar power or PV has traditionally been quite expensive, but in recent years the price of modules and equipment has come down and we can now offer a very competitive price. The only caveat to this is that the main cost factor is the availability of silicon, which is in huge demand world wide and it is hard to predict how much prices fluctuate.

We can now offer a basic grid installed PV system for 2kwp for £10,000 inclusive of vat. As a very rough guide most 2 to 3 bedroom houses require a Solar PV system of around 2 to 2.5 kwp in size to supply their electricity needs.

Selling Your Electricity back to the grid

Under the new Government Feed In Tariff scheme you can now sell your own renewable electricity AND use the same units. You can find more information on our Feed in Tariff scheme factsheet.

Typical Scenario:

2kwp for £10,000 inc. vat, Annual generation of 1,500kWH per year, 14p per unit average electricity paid for the grid and 41.3p per unit paid to you for your electricity.
Add to this that the feed-in tariff is index linked AND guaranteed for 25 years and it is fair to say the future is bright for solar pv.

Wind Turbines

Wind Turbines are one of the most popular and effective renewable options available to date, and arguably one of the best renewable power generating solutions in the UK currently. Very simply, the wind drives a propeller, which in turn drives a generator, which creates DC electricity.

For Grid Connected Wind Turbines, the DC electricity generated is passed through an inverter which turns the DC into AC and can be either connected to the national grid. For Off-grid wind turbines the DC electricity can be stored with the use of batteries to enable you to draw windpower when you need it.


  • Pure green electricity for your home or location.from the power of the wind
  • You can sell your excess electricity back to the national grid if you are grid connected.
  • If you use battery storage you can have a useful back up if your grid connection is unreliable.
  • A wide range of wind turbines to suit power requirements from 400w up to 250kw and beyond.
  • Very low maintenance and back up from wind turbine suppliers with over 25 years of experience in wind technology and manufacture.

Types of Wind Turbines

We can source a range of wind turbines in different sizes to fit your energy needs and budget.
We can offer 400w, 600w, 800w, 1kw, 1.4kw, 2.5kw, 3kw, 5kw, 6kw, 10kw, 20kw, 50kw, 80kw and 250kw+ wind turbines. We always recommend freestanding wind turbines mounted on poles to avoid damage to buildings from vibration. Our free standing wind turbines can be guyed poles or solid towers depending on your height and location

Costs and Payback

One of the benefits of wind turbines is that they have a relatively small “footprint” on the ground, this means you can increase the size of the unit and the height to make the most of your windy location. In theory the bigger the wind turbine blades and unit, the more wind power you can generate.

Costs for our wind turbines range from £4,000 to £250,000 (installed), depending on your requirements.

Payback can vary widely depending on your location, but given the right spot and lots of wind you can expect wind turbines to payback between 10 and 15 years and even earn a small income from your excess electricity on top within a 20 year period. For grid connected turbines you should expect to earn at least 10p / unit (kwh) even if you have used the units yourself AND you can earn 4.5p / unit even if you have an off-grid turbine!

Wood Burners

Wood or Biomass heating uses the most primitive renewable energy first discovered by man, wood fire.
Burning wood is a carbon-neutral renewable form of energy due to the fact that burning wood creates as much Co2 as if the tree were left to rot (creating Methane – a more powerful greenhouse gas than C02).
Whilst there are other forms of Biomass heating and combined heat and power solutions available, this section currently covers a range of products which are designed to burn wood in various forms for space heating only.


Your Carbon footprint is lower – Burning locally sourced wood only creates as much carbon as if it were left to rot in where it stood. In addition to this trees re-grow, converting Co2 to oxygen.
There are many applications for wood fuelled hot water and heating systems, the latter being a major benefit as few renewable sources tackle heating can tackle as wide a range of buildings as wood currently.
Wood or Biomass offers an intense heat source, higher than other forms of renewable heating such as heat pumps, which means it can heat older, less well insulated buildings.
Wood fired boilers can work well with other renewable technologies such as solar thermal.
There is something satisfying about the smell and process which brings us closer to nature.

Costs and Payback

Systems can vary hugely due to the massive range of brands and types available.
Log burners can vary in price from second hand models at £250-400 and new models from £400 upwards and in many styles.
Wood pellet boilers start from £12k upwards including supply and installation of the boilers and storage equipment.

Heat Pumps

There are several kinds of heat pumps you can choose from:

Ground Source Heat Pumps and Water Source Heat Pumps work by absorbing the heat from the sun which is stored in the earth or in water between 1m and 2m depth. They use a system of flexible pipes containing fluid which are buried underground or in water which absorb, then carry heat into your house.

Air Source Heat Pumps extract heat from the outside air temperature wth the help of an air handling system. Air Source Heat Pumps can include the following types:

Air to Water usually includes an external unit collecting heat from the outside air temperature which is then transfered to the internal unit which uses the refridgerant cycle to transfer the heat into a wet central heating and hot water system.

Air to Air heat pumps take air temperature from internal or external units and transfer the heat via a air distribution system. External units can be used to heat apartments or open plan rooms such as church halls, offices etc and also work alongside or integrated with air conditioning systems.

Heat Recovery is a kind of air to air or air to water heat pump, whereby the warm air from excessively warm areas of a building (kitchens, lofts) can be used to heat water or air.

How Do Heat Pumps Work?

All Heat Pumps work a bit like a fridge (BUT BACKWARDS), transferring heat from one source to another.
Essentially heat is transfered to the heat pump by lops or air units and this low grade heat is used to boil refridgerant. The heat is then pressurised and the temperature goes up to 55-65degrees – this can now be used for heating or hot water.
All Heat pumps produce between 3 – 5 times the amount of renewable energy than electricity required to power them.
Most Heat pumps rely on an immersion to give them a boost when high hot water demand is required but Heat pumps can also be installed with solar water heating to provide a complete hot water and heating solution.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q. Does solar water systems really work in the UK?

A. Yes.    Solar energy is the cleanest and most sustainable of all known energy sources. The UK receives about 60% of the sun’s energy compared with the Equator. This means that even on cloudy and overcast days in summer and winter, a solar water system will typically deliver up to 70% of hot water over the course of a year.

Q. What is solar water heating?

A. Solar energy is collected by a Panel (solar collector), which is linked to your existing heating system. The sun’s energy generates heated water which is ready for use in your home.

Q. Why install Solar Water Heating?

A. By choosing solar energy you will save on heating costs, reduce your carbon footprint, contribute to the environment and extend the life of your current heating system.

Q. Is solar water heating an alternative to my current heating?

A. Solar energy does not totally replace your current fuel needs but is used as a supplement to reduce your fuel costs.

Q. Where are the Panels installed?

A. The panels need to be in a position to best collect the sun’s energy and in the UK that is south facing. The most common place to install the panels is directly onto the roof (either flat or pitched) although they can be placed on the ground or gable walls. They should also ideally be placed close to the hot water cylinder to avoid long pipe runs where heat can potentially be lost. If you do not have a south facing roof, then two panels can be placed in an East/West configuration (one on each roof slope).

Q.  Do I need planning permission?

A.  No – in the majority of cases planning permission is not required. However, in certain cases, ie if your home is in a conservation area, or if your home is classed as a listed building then yes you will need to get permission.  You should always check with your local planning office as the rules do differ from area to area.

Q Can I link solar water heating with solid fuel stoves.

A Yes – The two systems are ideally matched to provide water heating throughout the whole year. Solid fuel stoves can be used to provide water and space heating during the winter with the solar system providing water heating during the summer and topping it up in the winter.

Q. Could I use solar heating to heat my swimming pool?

A. Yes. Solar is a very efficient way of heating the water within a swimming pool, dramatically reducing the cost of heating the pool conventionally.

What is the Best Water Heater on the Market: Know What to Buy!

Thinking about what is the best water heater on the market? If you ask around or if you read online reviews, for sure, you will be confronted with a long list of suggestions, which will make things more difficult for you! We are here to make your life a lot easier. Keep on reading and learn more about Rinnai – the brand we believe stands out from all others!

What is the Best Water Heater on the Market

Enjoy Hot Water On-Demand

With Rinnai, there is no need to wait for a long time for your water to be heated. The water will be heated instantly as it goes through the pipe. The right temperature of the water will be reached in a matter of seconds, not minutes. Their tankless water heaters have the ThermaCirca360 technology. The latter is a patented feature that allows the recirculation of the water, making sure that it will be heated as soon as the tap is opened.

Perfect Even for Small Spaces

You do not need the luxury of space to install a Rinnai water heater. Their models are known for their space-saving design. Nonetheless, do not assume that the size speaks for its performance! Even if it is small, it has a powerful heating capability. Because of its size, it will also be a perfect choice if you are on the lookout for the best RV tankless water heater.

An Economical Option to Heat Water

Another thing that makes Rinnai a top choice for the best gas tankless water heater is the fact that they are affordable. Depending on your budget, there is a wide array of options to choose from. They also have local installation partners that offer rebate and financing, making it easy for anyone to own a Rinnai water heater. The long-term cost of ownership will also be economical since they are energy-efficient.

A Wealth of Outstanding Features

There are tons of features that set Rinnai water heaters apart from its competition. One thing that we love the most is the ThermaCirc 360, a proprietary technology that allows the recirculation of the water in the heater as soon as the unit has been turned on. The result is that hot water will be available almost in an instant.

The digital controller of the Rinnai heaters is also notable, providing users with complete control. Unlike the cheaper counterparts, they do not rely on a built-in knob dial to set the desired temperature. Rather, you will do so through the unit’s digital controller. There is a small display that shows relevant information about the unit. You can also see the diagnostic codes to make troubleshooting a lot easier.

Their heaters also have multiple heat exchange technology. Basically, it is found in their line of condensing water heaters and aids in the improvement of heat transfer. This is beneficial not only for energy-efficiency but also for making the water heat quicker.

Meanwhile, there are also some models that are equipped with the revolutionary Control-R Wi-fi. This is the perfect addition to a digitally-connected home. You will use an app on your mobile phone or tablet to control some of the functions of the water heater.

The company is also known for their Low NOx heaters. This is important because they are powered by gas, which could be a cause of concern in terms of being eco-friendly. No need to worry as they produce minimal emissions that will have a negative impact on the environment.

Lastly, they also have heaters with Energy Star certification, although not all models. This is an important feature to guarantee the ability of the unit to heat up water quickly without using too much energy.

Our Top Picks for Rinnai Water Heaters

Whether you want a heater for indoor or outdoor installation, regardless if your preferred source of power is propane or natural gas, Rinnai offers a diverse selection for everyone. Regardless of which model you pick, you can be guaranteed of its exceptional performance.

Rinnai has three main categories of water heaters. The most affordable belongs to the group of heaters that utilize High-Efficiency Non-Condensing Technology. Meanwhile, their mid-range heaters belong to the Super High-Efficiency Condensing Technology. If budget is not a concern and if you want to enjoy the best of both worlds, the Hybrid Tank/Tankless Water series will be the perfect option.

One of their most popular models is the Rinnai V6EN.  It has a maximum BTU of 150,000 and a maximum energy factor of .82. In terms of efficiency, it can deliver an output of up to 6.6 gallons per minute. If you have two and a half baths at home, this will be more than perfect for your needs.

Meanwhile, for the Super High-Efficiency Condensing technology, a popular option is the Rinnai RUC98iN Ultra Series Natural Gas Tankless Water Heater. The energy factor rating is up to .96 while the maximum BTU is 199,000.

Wrap Up

Indeed, Rinnai is an unrivaled name on the global market for water heaters. They are affordable, energy-efficient, space-saving, and reliable, among others. Whether for your home or RV, it promises to provide on-demand hot water that is ready in a matter of seconds!