Solar PV and Renewable Energy Installations
Bristol, Somerset and the South West

Call us today on:
0845 338 6227 or 0117 9020095

Solar Thermal




Solar Thermal systems use the suns radiation to produce a supplementary heating source for a hot water tank.

A solar thermal system produces adequate heat for your water system to not require the use of any additional water heating, usually from March right Through until October.  Even in the winter they will be able to produce enough heat for you to only need to use your boiler or immersion heater a fraction of its current amount.

A Solar Thermal system will greatly reduce your hot water heating costs, and are also included in the governments Renewable Heat Incentive which means you will also be paid for all the heat energy you produce for yourself, making Solar Thermal and investment of similar attractiveness to Solar PV and its Feed in Tariff.

Solar Thermal systems are available in 2 primary forms, both available through Gem solar:

  • Flat Plate Solar Thermal Panels
  • Evacuated Solar Tubes (no longer recommended)

evacuated tube collector solar thermal flat plate collector

Solar Thermal Flat Plate Panels are generally considered more aesthetically pleasing since they look a lot like a Velux roof window, and are considered the better option for South facing roofs.

solar thermal installation system set-upWhy Choose Solar Thermal

For a number of years now alternative energy has been a hot topic of discussion by politicians and consumers, and there is now no escaping the fact that without everyone making real steps to reduce their carbon footprint will drain the planets precious resources and cause potentially serious environmental damage.


As a part of our carbon footprint reduction we need to cut down on the amount of non renewable energy use, as well as learning to become more efficient in the energy we use.

The need to change to renewable and self sufficient energy generation is further compounded by the ever increasing cost of using conventional non renewable energy.  We have all seen a huge increase in our gas and electricity bills and this is due to continue increasing at a conservatively predicted rate of 10% every year.

If you find a lot of your year round energy expenses is going towards heating your water, then a Solar Thermal installation is a great money saving solution for you. Most households still use a considerable amount of energy heating their hot water daily (or on demand) for bathing etc., during the warmer months of the year when central heating is not required.  A Solar Thermal system can completely eradicate the need to consume energy for this purpose for three quarters of the year, and is very eco and bank account friendly.  Solar thermal is the ideal paring to biomass and log heating systems to provide your hot water when these boilers are not needed for central heating and cost inefficient to use when just fired up for hot water heating.

Whilst not as popular as Solar PV installations, Solar Thermal installation s are equally well established with millions of homes globally now using this technology to heat their hot water.  As a result this technology is highly affordable, and coupled with the government backed incentives that are still available it is not only something most consumers can afford, it also can represent a returning financial investments, not just from reductions in your energy bills from no longer needing to pay to heat your water for most of the year, but also from money you will receive from the Renewable Heat Incentive.

solar themal installation system workingsThe Renewable Heat Incentive will be reducing over time so there has never been a better time to make your first steps towards self sufficiency and environmental responsibility.






  • Reduce your carbon footprint dramatically
  • Reduce your water heating bills
  • Great return on investment better than any bank returns available
  • Earn money for all the water heating power you produce from the Renewable Heat Incentive
  • Systems with a 20+ year life span
  • Generates heat for your water system 365 days of the year potentially
  • Low cost and reliable

Solar Thermal Questions Answered

Is my Home Solar Suitable?

Yes if your home has a roof that faces South / South West / South East / West / East.

Do I Need Planning Permission?

No planning permission is needed in the vast majority of cases. If you live in a conservation area or in a listed building planning permission may need to be obtained.

How well do Solar Thermal systems work in the UK?

The UK receives plenty of the suns radiation to work very effectively, especially in the south of England where we are lucky to get more than the north. Generally the system should be able to supply all of your hot water heating requirements from March through until October, and even in winter it can substantially supplement your required water heating.

How much roof space do I need?

Ideally 3m x2m, as this will provide enough room for a substantial 3kw system, which is all most homes need, however smaller lower output systems can be installed for smaller roofs.

How much hot water will a system generate?

Realistically approximately 1000kWh per year per kW of system installed. For example a 3kW system would produce 3000kWh per year approximately. Take a look at your currently annual gas / electricity bill from March through until October to see how much of your current usage you can attribute to heating your hot water, as during this time is can be completely replaced with your own Solar produced hot water.

How much will a Solar Thermal system cost from Gem Solar?

As each system is tailored to the property to which it is fitted on, a technical survey is required to give you an accurate quote. However to help give you an idea, and using a typical scenario, a fully installed system, registered and connected to the Renewable Heat Incentive Scheme, and including a new thermal ready cylinder, will cost approximately £6000.

Please contact us to discuss your requirements, and if you like we can arrange for technical survey to give you a precise quote.

What does a technical survey involve?

One of our full time employed, non-commission based surveyors will visit your home to take more exact readings of your homes orientation, pitch of roof, shade factors, roof strength, as well as to help you assess your hot water heating requirements

The survey is required not only to be able to properly asses you property in term of being able to give you an accurate quote, but also adhere to the MCS (renewable energy installation governing body’s) standards, which requires us to give you the customer the most accurate data possible on how effective the proposed system will be.

Unlike most solar companies we are completely against the use of the typical hard sell techniques used by so many solar firms. We cannot stress enough that it isn’t an untrained commission based hard sell sales rep that will be visiting your home, but rather a fully trained technical surveyor who is there to give you the information required and answer any questions you may have. We hate hard sell sales reps ourselves, so we don’t believe that is something you should have to endure either – our team is there to help, however as intelligent consumers all decision making should be left to you to decide in your own way and in your own time.

The whole survey process should take less than 45 minutes.

Can I choose a particular make of Solar panels for you to install?

Yes you can. As standard we install for you what we believe to be the best quality and value panels available at the time. This is judged not only by the specifications from the manufacturer, but also from the installation experiences of our installers, who are able to assess the quality feel of one panel over another – some panels simply feel stronger and better made than others.

We are not tied to a particular manufacturer in order that we can maintain that flexibility to provide for our customers the very best product available at the time.

It also means that we are free to install any equipment a customer wishes. So if there is a particular make of panel you would specifically like us to install for you, then please let us know and we will source and quote accordingly.

What can I expect to save in energy?

This will of course vary depending on how much energy you use to heat your water, the size of system installed, as well as factors such as the direction of your roof.

Using a Solar Thermal system you will be producing your own hot water, thus greatly reducing the amount of gas / electricity you need to buy in from your current supplier.

Take a look at your currently annual gas / electricity bill from March through until October to see how much of your current usage you can attribute to heating your hot water (typically about 30% of a standard domestic gas bill), as during this time is can be completely replaced with your own Solar produced hot water. Based on a typical 3kW system example, that can produce 3000kWh of heated water over a year which is approximately £200 worth of gas / electricity you will not need to purchase in.

Please use the calculator in the calculators section to work out what you are likely to save. The calculators used are on independent government backed sites, so you can rest assured that the estimates they give are completely achievable, as opposed to the unrealistic calculators you may see on some commercial solar sales sites.

As well as saving the amount of energy you need to pay for you will also be eligible to be paid extra for using your own produced energy through the through the Renewable Heat Incentive.

What can I expect to earn from my Solar Thermal system?

As well as the savings you can make by needing less energy from your supplier, through the Clean Energy Cash Back Scheme you will also be paid 19.2p per kWh of energy you produce through your solar Thermal system.

This 19.51p per kWh is paid to you even though you will be using the energy you create yourself in your own home. You are effectively getting paid for doing your bit to help the environment – it’s a thank you from the government for being a part of the solution to the planets problems rather than being a continued user of the non-sustainable energy produced by the big power companies.

For current Solar Thermal installations this generous payment is fixed for the next 7 years, giving you plenty to repay your initial investment.

Please use the calculator in the calculators section to work out what you are likely to earn. The calculators used are on independent government backed sites, so you can rest assured that the estimates they give are completely achievable, as opposed to the unrealistic calculators you may see on some commercial solar sales sites.

How long will it take the system to repay its investment?

Using a typical well performing 3kW system example you should expect your solar Thermal system to have completely paid for itself in savings and Renewable Heat Incentive earnings in about 7 years. As the Solar Thermal system should last around 20+ years, this still leaves a further 13+ years of savings, with the current renewable heat incentive earnings for solar installs for the time being are guaranteed for the next 7 years, turning your Solar system into a profitable investment for many years from its likely completed initial investment repayment.

Please use the calculator in calculators section to work out what you are likely to earn. The calculators used are on independent government backed sites, so you can rest assured that the estimates they give are completely achievable, as opposed to the unrealistic calculators you may see on some commercial solar sales sites.

Is there much paperwork I need to do to get my solar system registered for the Renewable Heat Incentive scheme?

There is no need for you to do anything. As your MCS installer, Gem solar will take care of everything for you.

What maintenance of the system is required?

No regular system maintenance is required at all. The solar panels have a self cleaning coating, which means the rain will keep your panels clean for you.

Does Solar Thermal work on cloudy days?

Yes it does as there is still a certain amount of the suns ambient radiation, however it works better on a nice sunny day.

Can I heat hot water for my Central Heating using my Solar Thermal system?

If enough panels are installed the answer is in theory yes, however it may only be possible to contribute to the hot water required for central heating system, however we will to survey your home to see if a thermal store system is suitable. In most cases the answer would be no, and the solar thermal system is really only suitable for heating domestic hot water.

Also in the winter months when you need your central heating the most it is when the solar thermal system is working least effectively.

Our advice is to consider Solar Thermal an effective and efficient solution to your hot water requirements and not central heating necessarily.

If you are looking for a renewable energy system that can provide both your hot water and central heating, perhaps a Bio Mass boiler or Air Source Heat Pump should be considered, which work very well in conjunction with a solar thermal system.

Will the Solar Thermal System work alongside my existing Boiler?

Yes it can, with you using the boiler if you need additional hot water (for example in the winter months) and using the boiler to generate heat for your central heating system.

The main consideration will be that you will need to have a domestic hot water tank installed if you do not already have one, which simply requires space for the hot water tank to be located.

Will I need a new hot water tank?

When we install a Solar Thermal System it is essential to have a modern efficient multi-coil water tank to get the most of the system, so we will install a suitable new water tank as part of the installation. The cost of this is included in our overall system price.

What Impact will fitting have in my home?

Very little. The vast majority of the work is done outside of the house, and the internal work involved will take less than a day, and you will only be left without hot water for a few hours. A typical install can be completed within 3 days, and we will ensure that any scaffolding required is removed immediately following the completion of the install.

Our installers are all full-time employed by Gem Solar and we don’t use any external third party contractors. As a result you can rest assured that our installers are polite and professional, efficient and clean and tidy – the very best around.

How long will it take from placing my order to get the system installed?

Typically we can have a system installed and up and running on your house within 3 weeks, but we will always try and fit around your requirements and will always try and get it done sooner if you need us to. Equally if you wish to order more than a month before you would like it installed we can delay installation until whatever date you request.

What size system will I need?

This very much depends on your water heating energy usage primarily. Typically 1.5m2 or 0.75kW per person living in your household. The bigger the system you can afford and can accommodate, the more hot water you can produce year round, and, the greater your potential long term earnings and savings from the system.

The most important thing is to make sure you get a system large enough to supply the hot water you require, and we will make sure you are advised accordingly.

How long will the system last?

Conservative estimates for the current standard of the technology and the high standard of the panels that we install, you should expect a system life span of at least 20 years +.

What reassurance can you give?

We are MCS accredited and members of the Renewable Energy Consumer Code, and use only our in house installers and surveyors. We guarantee a top level service from start to finish, with your balance payment only due when you are 100% satisfied with the install.

We use the best quality equipment and panels and as a result we can give you a 10 year warrantee on both the collectors as well as the installation.

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Gemsolar Ltd - 326 Redcatch Road, Bristol, Somerset, BS3 5DS
Tel: 0845 338 6227 - 0117 9020095 - Email: info (@)