There was great news for the UK renewable energy industry just before Christmas.
The Government announced it was dropping plans to remove solar thermal from the Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI), which pays a tariff to property owners who generate heat through renewable technologies.
The announcement means the RHI will continue to support solar thermal domestic systems at the current level of 19.74p/kWh of support over seven years while the non-domestic tariff for installations in industrial, commercial, public sector and not-for-profit organisations (up to 200kW) will continue at 10.28p/kWh with a payment period of 20 years.
The domestic RHI scheme is open to individual homes, owner-occupied, private landlords and social landlords. New build homes are excluded, with the exception of self-builders. The collectors installed and the installers must be accredited by the Microgeneration Certification Scheme (MCS) and properties must be properly insulated in order to qualify.
Solar thermal is one of the leading global technologies for renewable heat generation. It uses the sun’s energy to heat water used for central heating and hot water. It works particularly well for building that has a heavy, constant requirement for hot water, such as a swimming pool, a care home, and indeed in large family homes too. Systems are normally roof-mounted and integrated into existing traditional boiler or electric immersion-heated hot water system.
And there is no need to worry about the UK’s somewhat unreliable (and somewhat short) summers. Our own Thermomax solar thermal collectors are specifically tailored for Northern European climates. They work effectively and efficiently from dawn till dusk, producing usable heat even on a cold, overcast, wet and windy day, and delivering an unrivalled transfer of solar energy into heat.
What’s more more, installation isn’t difficult either. We offer custom-designed solar packages tailored to meet the needs of each specific application and we’ll look after you every step of the way. From initial advice, bespoke design/specification, installation to final commissioning and technical support through our nationwide support network of accredited installers.
As renewables have become more visible across our urban landscape, and people’s confidence in the technology has grown, we have seen a rise in uptake across both the commercial sector and in homes across the country. It may still be relatively immature but renewable energy is starting to come of age.
CASE STUDY: STAR COMMUNITY CENTRE
The £6m purpose-built Star Community Centre, recently opened in Cardiff, is part of the council’s Community Hubs programme, which invests in community services and facilities in priority areas. The new building includes a 25m swimming pool, gym and fitness suite, a new library, multi-use training and event rooms, and a community café.
The system specified consists of a 155sqm solar thermal array which is made up of 1,440 Kingspan Thermomax evacuated tube collectors, mounted horizontally on specially designed Kingspan low profile frames.
Installed collector power is an impressive 143kW and it has been calculated that the system will provide natural gas savings of over 7,000m3 and CO2 savings of nearly 15,000kg per annum, saving up to 30% on annual energy costs in process. That equals to around £2,000 per annum in gas savings at today’s prices plus potential RHI payments of around £8,000 per year, index linked for twenty years. That’s over £200,000 over the lifetime of the system.