Green Homes Grant | Solar Thermal

What it is

Solar thermal panels provide hot water for your taps and showers when the sun shines. Solar thermal panels are usually fitted to your roof and connected to your hot water cylinder, or to a new hot water cylinder. When the sun shines, water is heated up in the panel, which is pumped round a circuit of pipes. Heat from the pipes is used to heat the water in the hot water cylinder. Sometimes this is enough on its own to get the hot water up to temperature – at other times you will still need your central heating or electric immersion heater to get the water fully hot.

There are two common types of solar thermal panels:
– Flat plat collectors are the simpler technology – they’re cheaper per square metre, but you need more to get the same amount of heat.
– Evacuated tubes can be more efficient – they’re useful if you only have room for a small panel, but you’ll pay just as much for the same output.

Most solar thermal panel systems are designed to provide about half your hot water demand from the sun, whichever technology you use, with the rest coming from your existing central heating or immersion heater. They are not normally designed to provide any space heating, as they provide most output at times when space heating isn’t needed.

Is it right for me?

Solar thermal panels are usually installed in homes with a central heating system such as a boiler and hot water cylinder. It can be possible to fit solar thermal panels with a combi boiler, but this is not always straightforward – ask an installer for advice on this.

If possible, you should obtain independent expert advice about whether a solar thermal system is the right technology for you and your home.

If you are thinking about participating in both the Green Homes Grant scheme and the domestic Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI), you should be aware that they have different eligibility criteria, so qualifying for one scheme does not automatically mean that you qualify for both.

Ofgem are the scheme administrator for the RHI and produce guidance about the scheme which can be found using the link above.

How to get it

You will need a certified installer for your Solar Thermal installation. They must be certified by TrustMark and the Microgeneration Certification Scheme (MCS) if you want to claim a Green Homes Grant voucher. Installers must be certified by MCS for the Domestic Renewable Heat Initiative.


You may not need planning permission to fit solar thermal panels to your roof.


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