Dynamic Market Growth in the UK

The UK was still one of the most dynamic solar thermal markets in Europe in 2008 – despite the worldwide economic crisis. According to the British Solar Trade Association (STA), the amount of solar thermal collectors installed countrywide in 2008 grew by 50 % to 81,000 m2 (57 MWth)."
Certainly, one needs to consider that the British Isles range at the bottom of the list when it comes to the total solar thermal capacity installed per inhabitant in Western Europe. Anyway, isn't the hike in growth interesting enough for wanting to know what is driving the market? “There are several factors,” David Matthews, the chief executive of STA, starts answering this question. “First of all, there are a lot of publications about solar technology and climate change since government is enthusiastic about renewable energies and concerned about climate protection.” Besides, there are a lot of liberal people with green technology inclinations who will buy solar water heaters with conviction.

The British Government supports solar thermal in two ways: The Low Carbon Buildings Programme rebates solar water heaters with a maximum of £400 or 30% of the eligible costs. Unfortunately, this subsidy is not really convincing enough for home owners to invest into a solar water heater. STA estimates that only one of ten solar thermal installations ask for a rebate from the Low Carbon Building Programme.

The second support measure by the British Government seems to be more effective. National and local building regulations lead by the Code for Sustainable Homes encourage home owners to invest into energy efficient measures or renewable energies. “Therefore, as these regulations start to have a significant effect on the housing and then wider construction sector, much more solar and other renewables will be fitted to newly built homes”, expects Matthews. “However, it should also be noted that the current economic downturn will probably lead to a downturn in the whole new build housing market so the consequences of the new drivers counterbalanced by recession are hard to foretell.”

The Code for Sustainable Homes is a national standard for sustainable design and construction of new homes. It was launched for the first time on 13th December 2006. Since then it is regularly updated. Download of the latest technical guidance manual from October 2008

The Solar Trade Association (STA) having been formed in 1978 and was proud to be celebrating its 30th Anniversary last year. To this day, the focus lies on solar thermal technology. STA represents over 200 suppliers & producers of solar collectors and associated equipment and also the installers of systems which cover the solar thermal business in the United Kingdom.

Further information:

The Low Carbon Buildings Programme (LCBP) Phase 1 started in Mid June 2006 with an overall funding of 30 million Pound Sterling (GBP). The number of applications exceeded all expectations so that the budget was increased by another 6 million GBP in April 2008.
The BERR’s low carbon buildings grant funds a big number of technologies including photovoltaics, wind turbines, heat pumps, micro combined heat and power plants and fuel cells. The programme is not sufficiently attractive for residential home owners. According to the Solar Trade Association only every tenth solar water heater installed countrywide received a rebate by LCBP.


Country / region  

Great Britain

Name of programme  Low Carbon Buildings Programme (LCBP) Phase 1

Type of incentive  Rebate

Eligible technologies  Solar water heaters

Applicable sectors  Residential

Amount / maximum incentive  400 Pound Sterling (GBP) or 30 % of the relevant eligible costs (whichever is the lower)Grant offer Validity Period:        
  • 3 months for existing buildings
  • 6 months for buildings under construction

There is a GBP 2,500 grant cap per household. Householders can apply for more than one technology but the funding will be limited up to a maximum of GBP 2,500 per household depending on technologies involved and to one grant per technology type

Requirements for system  n/a

Requirements for installation  Approved installers please go to: www.microgenerationcertification.org

Finance provider  Department of Business Enterprise & Regulatory Reform (BERR) /
Energy Saving Trust

Total funds  36 million GBP for a wide range of energy saving measures and renewable energy technologies (Phase 1)

Funding source  Public funds

Effective date  Mid June 2006

Expiration date  Late 2010 or as long as funds are available, whichever is sooner

Website  www.lowcarbonbuildings.org.uk

Last review of this tabloid  February 2010

Contact Department of Business Enterprise & Regulatory Reform (BERR) /
Energy Saving Trust
Phone 0044/(0)800 915 0990 Email: info@lowcarbonbuilding.org.uk



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