Solar Thermal

The Advice Notes aim to provide introductory material for entrepreneurs, startups and SME’s, considering to enter into the renewable energy sphere and based in the NPA regions partners to GREBE. The scope of the Advice Note covers regional, trade and industry, renewable energy (RE), technology information from Ireland, Northern Ireland, Scotland, Iceland and Finland. Different partner regions have different level of deployment of the various RE technologies covered by the Advice Notes. Thus, the level of information will vary depending on the level of deployment for each technology. For example, wind is not deployed on a large scale in North Karelia (Finland); however, it is widely deployed in Scotland, Ireland and Northern Ireland.

Full details are available on the GREBE website:

The focus of the Advice Notes is on regional information of some of the main economic characteristics sited as imperative, when making an informed choice, regarding which RE technology may be the optimal choice for a new business venture:

  • Costs and economics associated with the relevant technology
  • Support schemes available, relevant to the technology
  • Government allowance/exemptions, relevant to the technology
  • Funding available for capital costs of the relevant technology
  • List of the relevant to the technology suppliers/developers, with focus on local/regional, suppliers/developers and the products and services they offer.


Solar thermal systems use solar collectors to absorb energy from the sun and transfer it, using heat exchangers, to heat water. Solar thermal delivers hot water at temperatures of between 55ºC and 65ºC. This is a comparatively mature technology and many installations date back to the 1970s. There are two main types of solar heating collectors:

  • Flat-plate collectors – a sheet of black metal, that absorbs the sun’s energy, encases the collector system. Water is fed through the system in pipes, which conduct the heat to the water.
  • Evacuated tubes – a series of parallel glass heat tubes grouped together. Each tube contains an absorber tube enclosed within a vacuum. Sunlight passing through the outer glass tube heats the absorber tube contained within it, and in doing so, the heat is transferred to a liquid flowing through the tubes.

Evacuated tubes are the most efficient type of solar water collector at around 80% efficiency (compared to around 70% for flat plate collectors). Correspondingly, they also cost more to manufacture; thus, they are more expensive. Modern solar thermal technologies are dependable, efficient and completely safe. Solar thermal technology can have up to 80% efficiency rate in delivering heat to your business.