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					ESIF - Solar thermal strategy study - SUN IN ACTION                              UNITED KINGDOM - Page 1

                        UNITED KINGDOM
1. The present market situation and future prospects

The United Kingdom (UK) climatic conditions are such that the solar irradiation on a plane which is
inclined at 30o (a typical inclination for solar collectors in the UK), facing due south, varies from 900
kWh/m2 per year in the north of Scotland to 1.250 kWh/m2 in the south west of England. Also
important to solar thermal system design in the UK is the large seasonal variation in solar irradiation
compared with many parts of Europe. Monthly solar irradiation can vary from as little as 2% of the
annual total in December and January to 14% of the annual total in June.

To consider the present market situation, it is useful to reflect upon the history of the UK solar thermal
market. The level of sales of solar thermal collectors within the UK since 1974 is shown in the table
set out in section 2 of this report. The market has been characterised by three phases. Initially, with
government assistance for research and development, the market expanded quite rapidly. This resulted
in considerable importation, much from Southern Europe. The market continued to expand until the
early 1980's. Subsequently the market collapsed quite rapidly. Several factors were responsible for this
occurring. Perhaps the most significant was that prices of fossil fuels had not risen in real terms to
anything like the extent that was predicted at the time of the oil crisis and the formation of OPEC in
1973. Additionally, there being no national standards, at that time, covering quality, either of products
or installation, many systems had been installed by opportunists and were of poor quality. Many of the
imported panels also proved to be unsuitable for the UK. This created a poor image of the product
generally in the market.

During the early part of the period of market expansion, several large companies having good
reputations, nationally and internationally, entered the market in the expectation that opportunities
existed for very large sales as well as good corporate publicity. The presence of these companies and
the publicity that they gave to the product, albeit limited, helped to stimulate the newly emerging
industry. When their expectations were not realised they all withdrew from the market within a short
period of time. A further significant factor on the market collapse was a report by the UK
government's Department of Energy published in the early 1980's, widely condemned within the
industry, in which solar thermal technology was not viewed favourably as a renewable energy resource
for the future in the UK. At the same time the government cut back support for renewable energy
resources and concentrated on the development of nuclear energy.
Subsequent to the market decline described above, a few, small companies, generally with low
resources, but good products and enthusiasm remained in the flat plate sector of this minimal market.
One UK producer of evacuated tube collectors possessed sufficient resources to concentrate on exports
and mostly through their efforts the UK has become a significant exporter of solar collectors.

UK production of solar thermal collectors is now at its highest level (36.000 m2 were manufactured in
1994) since 1981 with 81% of production being exported. Most of these exports, however, are still
generated by one company. The home market has been fairly flat in recent years; at the 1994 level of
only 6.000 m2 for domestic systems and 2.000 m2 for swimming pool systems, it is a very minimal
market. The largest proportion of sales within the UK are made by those companies which use direct
selling techniques.
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As explained in section 12 of this report, in 1992 the UK government reassessed its strategy regarding
solar thermal technology and in 1994 published Energy Paper 62, "New and Renewable Energy:
Future Prospects in the UK" [1]. Energy Paper 62 recognised solar thermal systems as being
commercially available and technologically viable and reclassified solar thermal technology as suitable
for inclusion in government assessment and research, development, demonstration and dissemination
programmes (i.e. an improvement from the government's previous stance).

Pursuant to the new classification set out in Energy Paper 62, the government commissioned the UK
Solar Trade Association (STA) to undertake a study to propose measures which would encourage the
development of the UK solar thermal industry. As part of this study the industry has identified
measures considered essential to overcome the perceived barriers to significant UK market expansion.
These have been presented to the government for consideration and the extent to which the
government supports the adoption of such measures remains to be seen.

The main thrust of the draft study document recently presented to government by the STA is that in
spite of there being a minimal UK solar thermal market, the UK does possess a strong solar thermal
manufacturing base with a selection of high quality products. In addition, the UK possesses testing
facilities to the highest international standards and a significant base for academic research and

To implement the measures recommended by the STA to achieve significant UK market growth, the
UK industry will need to attract funding. If the STA's recommendations are effected in full, the total
cost of such a programme would be in excess of 2,4 million ECU (£2 million) per year for 5 years.
This level of funding cannot be supplied by the industry itself as it is presently constituted. It has been
proposed by the STA that the programme be implemented through a partnership of industry action and
government support with external support from EC programmes (such as Altener, Joule-Thermie etc.)
and other sources sought wherever practicable.

Two specific important measures addressed in the STA's recommendations with strong relevance to
the EU are the removal of VAT on solar thermal products and installations (presently charged at
17,5%) and normalisation of European solar thermal standards. The UK solar thermal industry would
welcome the opportunity to work (and, in the case of solar thermal standards, to continue to work)
with its EU colleagues on these issues.

The future prospects for the UK solar thermal market in terms of target numbers for solar thermal
installations are discussed in section 13 of this report. Broadly, however, the prospects are dependant
upon the extent to which the STA's recommended measures can be funded. The STA has defined two
scenarios, (i) a baseline programme (with total annual expenditure averaging 480.000 ECU (£400.000)
over 5 years) and (ii) a maximum support programme (with a cost of over 2.500.000 ECU
(£2.100.000) per year for five years and with VAT removed from solar thermal systems). The target
number of annual domestic installations after a five year programme are:
         -       20.000 installations per year as a result of the baseline programme;
         -       60.000 installations per year as a result of the maximum support programme.
As referred to above, the extent to which the STA's measures can be implemented and the success of
the UK industry in attracting UK government and other financial support is at this stage uncertain.

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2. Solar collector production and sales in the UK

A summary of UK production, sales and imports of thermal solar collectors is shown in the table set
out below:

 Year                      Production            Imports           Exports           UK sales -            UK sales
                              m2                   m2                m2                DHW                 Sw. pool
                                                                                      (glazed)            (unglazed)
                                                                                         m2                  m2
      1974-81                   173.000               40.000            43.000            100.000                70.000
        1982                      17.000               1.000             1.000             14.000                  3.000
        1983                      21.000               2.000             7.000             13.000                  3.000
        1984                      22.000               1.000            10.000              7.000                  6.000
        1985                      27.000               2.000            15.000              5.000                  9.000
        1986                      27.000               1.000            17.000              4.000                  7.000
        1987                      26.000               1.000            17.000              5.000                  5.000
        1988                      23.000               1.000            15.000              4.000                  5.000
        1989                      22.000               1.000            13.000              6.000                  4.000
        1990                      26.000                   0            15.000              7.000                  4.000
        1991                      38.000                   0            25.000              8.000                  5.000
        1992                      32.000                 100            22.000              6.100                  4.000
        1993                      34.000                 100            25.000              6.100                  3.000
        1994                      36.000                 200            27.000              6.200                  3.000
 Total 1982-1994                351.000               10.400          209.000              91.400                61.000
                                 Table 2.1. Solar collector production and sales

Notes    -the figures have been compiled through annual surveys of manufacturers, importers, and sales companies. The
           surveys have been performed by parties independent of the manufacturers, importers and sales companies (since
           1992 the surveys have been performed by the STA).

         -the results of the annual surveys are only available in aggregate form. Analyses of UK market sales between flat
           plate and evacuated tube collectors and between Do-It-Yourself and other categories of installation are not
           available. Further, an analysis of production, imports and exports between glazed and unglazed collectors is not

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                x 1000 m2
         1978 1979 1980 1981 1982 1983 1984 1985 1986 1987 1988 1989 1990 1991 1992 1993 1994

                                                         production       sales

                   Figure 2.2. Graph comparing solar collector production and UK market sales

2.1 Estimated solar park in working order in 1994:
      Glazed collectors                  =                                             108.400 m2
      Unglazed collectors                =                                              63.400 m2
      Total                                                                            171.800 m2

2.2 Estimated annual solar thermal energy production:
      Glazed collectors:    108.400 x 375 kWh =                                         40.650 MWh/yr
      Unglazed collectors: 63.400 x 300 kWh    =                                        19.020 MWh/yr
      Total                                                                             59.670 MWh/yr

Note:        -the average energy productivity of glazed and unglazed collectors is based upon figures stated in Report ETSU S
               1337: Review of Active Solar Technologies [2]
             -the above estimate of annual solar thermal energy production correlates well with the UK government figures
               referred to in section 12 of this report.

2.3 Estimated CO2 emissions avoided in 1994:
      Glazed collectors:  40,65 x 0,8 x 370                           =                      12.032 tonnes
                          40,65 x 0,2 x 842                           =                       6.845 tonnes
                                                                                             18.877 tonnes

             unglazed collectors:        19,02 x 0,8 x 370            =                      5.629 tonnes
                                         19,02 x 0,2 x 842            =                       3.202 tonnes
                                                                                              8.832 tonnes

             Total CO2 emissions avoided in 1994:                     =                      27.710 tonnes
Note:        Calculations of savings in CO2 emissions in this report are based on the following estimates included within report
             ETSU S 1337:       370 tonnes/GWh emissions for oil and gas heating
                                842 tonnes/GWh emissions for direct electricity heating
3. Product types and solar thermal applications
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Flat plate collectors, with selective and non-selective surfaces, and evacuated tube collectors constitute
by far the largest proportion of UK production, but one manufacturer does offer an integrated system
with close coupled water storage in a range of sizes.
Unglazed polypropylene collectors for swimming pools are also produced in the UK by one company.
Polypropylene board of sufficient weight for this application is not available in the UK and is imported
from France or Germany.

Domestic hot water production constitutes the main application for solar thermal systems in the UK.
Relatively few solar thermal space heating systems have been installed. Such systems employ large
areas of collector because of the low levels of radiation during the period that space heating is required
This results in excessive collection during the summer months. Accordingly where space heating solar
thermal systems are used they are generally coupled to a swimming pool in order to utilise this excess
energy. Because of the low grade energy available from solar thermal systems in the UK in the winter,
the space heating systems utilise underfloor heating employing the concrete floor as a short term
heating facility.

A very small number of large systems have been installed in military accommodation blocks for the
Department of the Environment / Property Service Agency. These have employed some 170 m2 per
system. Smaller systems have been employed on hospitals. Again the number is very small and is
negligible even in the minimal UK market.
A few systems have also been installed in sheltered housing schemes for the elderly. Several of these
schemes have been commissioned by town or city councils and have been seen by them as test
installations, but generally the systems have not been adequately monitored. There is no sign to date
that these have encouraged further installations.

4. Product technology and production methods

Flat plate collectors and evacuated tube collectors are manufactured in the UK. In addition selective
surfaces for use in solar collectors are produced within the UK.

There are four manufacturers of flat plate collectors, A.E.S. Limited, Fieldway Solar Economy
Limited, Filsol Limited and Sundwel Limited, each of which sells nationally. In addition there are a
few small manufacturers of flat plate collectors supplying local rather than national markets.

Thermomax Limited is the only UK manufacturer of evacuated tube collectors. Until recently all
production had been at their facility at Bangor, Northern Ireland, but during 1994 a second production
unit was commissioned at Blackwood, Newport, Wales.

A.E.S. Limited manufacture absorber plates utilising aluminium fins incorporating electrolytically
bonded copper tubes. The fins are imported into the UK. Fins are connected in series to produce an
absorber of serpentine configuration. The absorber which incorporates a selective black chromium
surface is contained in an aluminium box double glazed with "Tedlar" and "Teflon" covers. The
company also produces an integrated system comprising a factory preassembled package of collectors,
pipework and water cylinder. Several sizes are produced with storage capacities ranging from 100 -
250 litres.

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The Fieldway Solar Economy absorber is also of a tube-in-fin design. Absorber fins are either copper
with an electrolytically deposited nickel layer, chemically blackened to give a selective surface, or, as
used by A.E.S., aluminium extruded fins with integral copper tubes and a black chromium selective
surface. The former are obtained from a UK manufacturer whilst the latter are imported from Sweden
and can be of Swedish, American or Chinese origin. The absorber is contained in a box fabricated
from extruded aluminium section, insulated with glass fibre and single glazed using "Tedlar".

Filsol Limited use stainless steel as the absorber plate material. Two sheets of 0,5mm thick stainless
steel are seam welded together along the edges to form a sealed envelope and then stitch welded and
hydraulically inflated to form the risers and headers. This results in a high surface area/water volume
ratio. An integral selective surface consisting of mixed iron, nickel and chromium oxides is created on
the absorber plate by chemical oxidation of the stainless steel. The absorber is contained in a box
formed from extruded aluminium section with an isocyanurate foam insulation and a 3mm blow-
formed acrylic cover.

Sundwel Limited produce an absorber consisting of a copper sheet with a copper tube of serpentine
configuration soldered onto one side. The absorber surface is a matt black epoxy paint, non-selective,
baked onto the surface. The collector box is of glass reinforced plastic construction with a high density
foam insulation having a 4mm tempered glass cover.

Thermomax Limited manufactures an evacuated tube collector which uses a heat pipe to transfer the
heat from the absorber surface to the water in the system. The absorbing surface is selective, black
chromium, on copper, and the heat pipe and absorbing surface are hermetically sealed inside an
evacuated glass tube. A small condenser is attached to the one end of the heat pipe that extends
through the glass tube. Two mechanisms are employed to transfer the heat from the condenser to the
water. A wet system in which the tubes connect to a stainless steel manifold through which the water
in the system flows, the connection being made so that the condenser is immersed in the water.
Alternatively, the condenser is attached to an aluminium block which itself is clamped to the 22mm
copper pipe carrying the water, a dry system. The latter is used in areas where the water quality is poor.

Solar selective surfaces have been developed in the UK as a result of the research efforts of Inco
Limited. Two high performance solar surfaces are available, a black nickel foil with self-adhesive
back, Maxorb, produced by Inco Alloys Limited and a selective surface specific to stainless steel
produced by Rigidised Metals Limited. Both surfaces are produced by chemical or electrochemical
techniques and as such are integral with the substrate material.

Unglazed and uninsulated swimming pool collectors are also produced in the UK. For many years
these were produced by Robinsons Limited of Winchester but during 1994 the business was taken over
by CPV Limited. The panels are constructed from black polypropylene twin wall board welded into
polypropylene tube headers. Twin wall board of sufficient thickness for this application is not
available in the UK. Board is therefore imported from producers either in France or Germany.

Production techniques:
Manufacture of evacuated tube collectors is of necessity capital intensive and highly automated. Flat
plate collector manufacture on the other hand, particularly at the current levels of production, is largely
labour orientated. As described above, copper, aluminium / copper and stainless steel are used in the
UK in the production of flat absorber plates. Of these materials only stainless steel lends itself readily
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to automated production. Production of stainless steel absorbers is fully automated in the UK. The
operations required to produce absorber plates in copper and aluminium / copper from the bought in
materials are largely manual. Production of collector boxes and assembly of finished flat plate
collectors is manual.
Selective surface production, of black nickel, Maxorb, and of that particular to stainless steel, Skysorb,
are both fully automated chemical processes.

Production capacity:
The total current UK solar thermal production capacity is 68.000 m2 per annum. This is based on
equipment working one shift, normally 8 hours per day, 5 days per week. Evacuated tube manufacture
constitutes a large proportion of this total.
Production capacity could be increased very substantially by extending the working day to two shift
working. Additionally the manufacturers report that gearing up capacity would largely involve
installation of low cost ancillary equipment and increasing the present labour force. The potential
production capacity therefore could be increased by a factor of three quickly and relatively

5. Breakdown of solar system costs

The manufacturing costs of solar collectors are generally confidential to the manufacturers.
Manufacturers, ex. works, selling prices are in the range of 170 ECU to 195 ECU (£140 to £160) per
square metre for flat plate collectors and average 605 ECU (£500) per square metre for evacuated tube
collectors. VAT (charged at the rate of 17.5%) must be added to these prices.

The majority of the systems installed are pressurised rather than feed-and-vent. The cost of the
remaining hardware and pipe fittings and control units for such systems fall in the range of 485 ECU
to 970 ECU (£400 to £800) plus VAT.

Installation costs vary considerably depending on wage rates obtaining in the particular geographic
area, the type of property (i.e. bungalow, two storey or three storey house) and the layout of the
existing plumbing. Installation costs can be as low as 425 ECU (£350) plus VAT. It is not possible to
put an upper figure on this aspect of the system.
The largest variation in installed cost is that portion allocated to marketing and other overheads. Since
the UK market is minimal, the general public level of knowledge of solar systems, their workings and
contribution to energy requirements, is very low. Also the general erroneous perception of the public is
that the UK climate is unconducive to the use of solar energy. Promotional and marketing costs in the
UK therefore can be very high.

In order to perform this education / promotion / marketing task, a few companies have employed direct
selling techniques. This implies direct mailing, face to face selling in the potential customer's home
and is very expensive. Figures of 970 ECU to 1.210 ECU (£800 to £1.000), plus VAT per system in
respect of such selling costs are quoted.

6. Research and development aimed at improving products

In the 1970's considerable industrial research was undertaken in the UK resulting in the development
of two high efficiency selective systems. As described in section 4, this resulted in a black nickel foil
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(Maxorb) and a surface particular to stainless steel (Skysorb). Both these selective surfaces are
currently produced in the UK. The black nickel product is exported as self-adhesive foil to many
countries throughout the world. Technology for the production of Skysorb was licensed to several
countries including Japan, USA, Canada, Australia and the EU countries Italy and Germany.
As far as is known no significant industrial research is currently being performed in the UK. Solar
thermal research projects still interest a few universities in the UK but it would be wrong to give the
impression that improvements are being actively pursued. With the minimal UK market for solar
thermal products it would seem unlikely that research and development effort will experience any
significant resurgence in the short or even medium term.

7. Product distribution networks, marketing and after sales methods

As emphasised in sections 1 and 2 of this report, the UK market for solar thermal products is
extremely small. What market does exist in the UK is largely supplied by three companies, each of
which has a direct corporate relationship with a manufacturing company, which engage their own sales
and installation teams and which generate sales by saturation mail drops in selected residential areas
with follow up house calls.
Those manufacturers which do not utilise direct sales teams generally sell to a number of distributors,
usually heating engineers with an interest in solar thermal systems, which advertise, sell and install
systems in their locality.

A recent development within the UK solar thermal market has been the entrance to the market of two
regional electricity companies one of which has been selling solar thermal systems for over two years.
These utility companies are able to minimise marketing costs by including their solar marketing
literature in their standard quarterly electricity bill distribution. Again specific residential areas are
targeted. A few other regional electricity companies are also known to be showing interest in the UK
solar thermal market.

Regular after sales service contracts are not the norm in the UK industry. The general philosophy is
that solar thermal systems are sold largely on the basis of providing future energy requirements at very
minimal cost. Since annual savings from a typical domestic system are not large in the UK, the cost of
annual maintenance contracts cannot be justified.
Installers usually give a minimum of 1 year guarantee on the system. After this period service is only
supplied in response to requests from the customer. Some installers do recommend a maintenance visit
every five years.

8. Incentives and financing methods

There are no incentives available for the installation of solar thermal systems. In fact such installations
attract the full 17.5% VAT surcharge and as such are at a disadvantage compared to conventional fuels
upon which VAT is charged at only 8%.

Generally, solar thermal systems are financed by the purchaser. The larger installing companies do
offer finance terms through arrangements made between themselves and finance houses. Such

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financing attracts interest rates of 15-18% and are generally perceived as a last resort financing route
even by the companies offering them.
Installation of domestic solar thermal systems are recognised by UK building societies for home
improvement loans. The larger installers therefore generally recommend that potential customers who
cannot finance the installation from savings, finance the system by adding the cost to their house
mortgage. Current mortgage interest rates are of the order of 8 to 9%.

9. Typical solar domestic hot water system

A typical domestic solar water heating system in the UK employs a collector array of 4 m2 of flat plate
collectors or 3 m2 of evacuated tube collectors. Since freezing conditions can be encountered in the
UK over a period of 7 to 8 months, the water in the collector circuit heats the water in a storage
cylinder via a heat exchanger (i.e. an indirect system). The collector fluid is treated with non-toxic
antifreeze propylene-glycol. The solar pre-heated water can be stored in a separate pre-heating tank
which can either provide feed water to the conventional hot water cylinder or provide water directly to
the taps (by use of a motorised valve). Alternatively a larger cylinder is used which has two heat
exchange coils, the lower coil in the collector circuit and the upper coil in the fossil fuel boiler circuit.
Where a separate tank is used, an electric immersion heater is also often incorporated.
Storage capacity for a typical solar thermal system with a separate pre-heat cylinder will generally fall
in the range 120-170 litres. The capacity of the conventional boiler-heated cylinder in the UK is
generally 120 litres. Hot water back up systems are generally gas, oil, solid fuel or direct electricity.
The solid fuel element is decreasing to a level of insignificance.

The design of solar thermal systems in the UK is significantly affected by typical UK hot water system
design. Prior to 1986 direct mains pressure hot water systems were not permitted. Low pressure
systems involving a cold water feed break-tank in the roof space were and still are the norm. In many
buildings this precludes the use of simple thermosyphon solar thermal systems.
Accordingly most solar thermal systems employ a small circulating pump automatically controlled by
a differential temperature controller with temperature sensors on the solar collectors and the water
storage cylinder. Although the collector circuit of some systems is vented, it is more common to use
unvented pressurised circuits. This again results from the unique UK hot water system design since
unvented pressurised solar systems involve less installation work than vented systems.

The total price to the customer of an installed system in the UK varies widely. Currently,
professionally installed systems of 3 to 4 m2 of collector area can cost anything from 2.420 ECU to
7.870 ECU (£2.000 to £6.500), inclusive of VAT. This range covers systems using both flat plate
collectors and evacuated tube collectors. Typical domestic systems in the UK have either a flat plate
collector area of m2 or an evacuated tube collector area of 3 m2.
A typical domestic water heating solar thermal system in the UK will be based on either 4 m2 of flat
plate collectors or 3 m2 of evacuated tube collector. Such systems will make a contribution of about
1.500 kWh/yr to household heating costs. Swimming pool systems vary widely in size. The average
private pool size is approximately 38 m2 and would employ 20 m2 of unglazed panels. These could be
expected to provide an input of 300 kWh/m2 which translates to 6.000 kWh/yr [2].

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10. Standards and codes of practice

There are four standards and codes of practice for solar thermal systems in the UK and they are as
(I) BS 5918: Produced by the British Standards Institute ("BSI"), BS 5918, entitled "Code of Practice
for Solar Heating Systems for Domestic Hot Water", was published in 1980 and revised in 1989. It
was prepared under the direction of the Refrigeration, Heating & Air Conditioning Standards
committee and sets out a framework of recommended practice in the design, construction, installation
and commissioning of components and systems for domestic hot water pre-heating.
(ii) BS 6785: Entitled "Code of Practice for Solar Heating Systems for Swimming Pools", BS 6785
was produced in 1986. Under the same direction as (i) above, this standard deals with the use of solar
systems for heating swimming pools and also deals with the use of pool covers. It does not deal with
filtration systems.
(iii) BS 6757: Also produced by the BSI, standard BS 6757 covers the "Methods of test for thermal
performance of solar collectors". It covers both outdoor and simulator testing but does not cover the
testing of complete systems. It was produced in 1986.
(iv) Solar Water Heating Code of Practice: This code of practice was produced by the STA. This
code covers all aspects of installation of solar systems from selling to after sales service and is issued
to all members of the STA. The Code was revised in 1989.

Solar thermal systems must comply with prevailing regulations such as those dealing with structural
stability, or structural fire precautions. These ensure the use of appropriate materials and construction
methods in accordance with relevant standards. The responsibility for administering and interpreting
the building regulations rests with the local authority. Similarly water bye-laws must be complied with.

All new buildings in the UK require formal planning permission. Solar thermal installations
incorporated into new buildings are considered part of the overall design and have to be shown on the
application and as such are covered by the specific planning permission given to the building as a
For existing dwellings the installation of solar thermal systems is covered by the Town & Country
Planning General Development Order 1988. Under these provisions alterations to the roof of the
dwelling are permitted under Schedule 2, Part 1, Class C, providing they do not result in a "material
alteration to the shape of the dwelling" and may be considered permitted developments. Most
domestic solar thermal systems in the UK are installed without formal planning application, since it is
assumed that they will fall into this schedule of the general development order, although strictly the
need or not for formal permission depends upon the local planning authorities' interpretation of the
If the collector array is considered to have significant visual impact (e.g. if projecting significantly
above the plane of the roof) then formal planning permission is required. Formal planning permission
must also be obtained in the case of listed buildings.
Apart from the visual impact and excluding the case of listed buildings, solar thermal installations on a
domestic scale are likely to raise few, if any, objections in planning terms.

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11. Conventional water heating systems and energy prices

Approximately 80% of households now use gas and oil for water heating. The remaining 20% use
either electricity or solid fuel. It is assumed that this pattern will not change significantly in the next 30
The prices of conventional sources of energy are summarised in the table shown below:

 Date: May 1995                            Domestic: 8% VAT included      Industrial: VAT not included
 Electricity - normal                      105 ECU / MWh                  1st 1000 units:
 Electricity - Economy 7:                                                     136 ECU / MWh
  - 7 hrs: 00.00h to 07.00h                34 ECU / MWh                   Additional units:
  outside above hrs.                       112 ECU / MWh                       97 ECU / MWh
 Kerosene                                     15 ECU / MWh                     14 ECU / MWh
 Gas oil                                      17 ECU / MWh                     16 ECU / MWh
 Black oils:
 (i) light                                    13 ECU / MWh                     12 ECU / MWh
 (ii) medium                                  12 ECU / MWh                     11 ECU / MWh
 (iii)       heavy                            12 ECU / MWh                     11 ECU / MWh
 Gas        - normal domestic                 19 ECU / MWh
   - small industrial (*)                                                   16 ECU / MWh
   - larger industrial                                                    negotiable
                                      Table 11.1. Conventional energy prices

12. National energy policy

Based upon information on the sources of energy consumed within the UK in 1993 contained in the
UK government publication "Digest of UK Energy Statistics 1994" [4], renewable energy sources in
the UK contributed the equivalent of 1,3 million tonnes of oil toward the UK's energy consumption
(approximately 0,8% of total energy consumed in the UK). Of the total renewable energy utilised in
the UK, the amount contributed by the UK's park of solar thermal collectors was the equivalent of
approximately 5.000 tonnes of oil (i.e. only 0,4% of the total renewable energy contribution).

The UK government published Energy Paper 62 [1] during 1994. The purpose of the paper was to
state the government's policy toward new and renewable energy and to summarise its strategy and
programme for implementing that policy.
The government stated its policy for new and renewable energy as being "to stimulate the development
of new and renewable energy sources wherever they have the prospect of being economically attractive
and environmentally acceptable in order to contribute to:
    -      diverse, secure and sustainable energy supplies;
    -      reduction in the emission of pollutants;
    -      encouragement of internationally competitive industries.

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In doing this it will take account of those factors which influence business competitiveness and work
towards 1.500 MW declared net capacity of new electricity generating capacity from renewable
sources for the UK by 2000."
The policy statement quoted above illustrates one very significant feature of UK government policy,
namely the focus on electricity generating renewables.

The government department which is responsible for the government's renewable energy programme
is the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) and the DTI's renewable energy activities are managed
by the Energy Technology Support Unit (ETSU). Subsequent to the reclassification of solar thermal
technology in Energy Paper 62, and as previously mentioned, ETSU has commissioned the STA to
undertake a study to propose measures which would encourage the development of the UK solar
thermal industry. The report arising from this study is presently being finalised and discussed between
the STA and ETSU (its recommendations in broad terms are explained in section 14). It remains to be
seen how much support will be provided by the UK government toward the measures proposed in the
industry development study report.

13. Objectives for the UK solar industry

Accurate assessment of the future market for solar thermal products in the UK is difficult. The present
minimal use of solar thermal systems is such that there is limited evidence on market behaviour upon
which future predictions can be based. However, the future development of the UK market can be
expected to be related directly to the amount of resources invested in the industry; given the scarcity of
resources amongst the companies operating in the UK industry, UK market development is likely to
depend upon the level of external funding (including UK government and EC support) that the
industry can attract.

The 1992 report ETSU S 1337 [2], stated that there are approximately 21 million houses in the UK
and that this number is expected to increase by between 100.000 and 300.000 per year. Further, it
estimated that 50% of existing houses are suitable for solar thermal systems.
Taking account of this level of housing stock, the experience of other EU, Northern European member
states, particularly that of Holland and Denmark, illustrates that a partnership of industry action and
government support, properly co-ordinated, could create a significant market for solar thermal systems
in the UK.
In the recent UK solar thermal industry development study draft report [3] prepared by the STA, a
number of measures were identified which, if carried out within a partnership of industry action and
government support, would result in development of the UK solar thermal market and industry. The
study considered the effects of implementing such measures in a five year programme.
The 1997 target for the Netherlands of 20.000 thermal solar installations per year is equivalent to 1,3
installations per 1.000 capita per year. The corresponding figure for Denmark for 1997 is 0,9
installations per 1.000 capita per year. Taking the mean of these figures and applying it the UK, would
imply annual domestic solar thermal installations of approximately 60.000 per year (equivalent to
0,28% of the current housing stock).

Comparing the measures proposed for development of the UK market (and assuming that these can be
fully funded to the top end of the funding range, i.e. at a cost of over 2.500.000 ECU (£2.100.000) per
year) with the strategies implemented in the Netherlands and Denmark, would suggest that the target

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of 60.000 installations is a realistic target for the UK within 5 years for what the STA has described as
a "maximum support programme".
If the UK market development measures recommended by the STA are funded to a lesser extent than
that envisaged in the maximum support programme, then it is reasonable to expect a resultant market
size smaller than that predicted above. In its industry development study, the STA also considered the
likely results of a programme which encompassed low cost and medium cost measures but only
limited expenditure on the higher cost measures with a total cost of approximately 480.000 ECU
(£400.000) per year for five years - this approach was defined as "the baseline programme". The STA
considers a target of 20.000 domestic solar thermal installations per year within five years of the
introduction of a baseline programme to be realistic.
In summary, therefore, the targets set by the STA for the objectives of an industry development
programme are shown below:

Programme                                Annual target no           Target no of          Target area of solar
                                          of installations        installations by    collectors installed by 2005
                                          within 5 years               2005                        m2
Baseline programme                            20.000                  200.000                   700.000
Maximum support                               60.000                  450.000                  1.575.000
Note: the figures shown above exclude swimming pool installations.

As referred to section 1, it is not yet clear how successful the UK solar thermal industry shall be in
attracting financial support from the UK government, the EC and from other sources. The extent to
which industry development measures may be fully funded is therefore uncertain and so it remains to
be seen whether the UK industry shall have the resources to attain the targets referred to above.

As previously stated, report ETSU S 1337 [2] included calculations of the energy savings and
reductions in CO2 emissions that would be achieved were the full accessible potential resource for
domestic solar installations realised. Using the same assumptions as adopted in ETSU S 1337 and
referred to in section 2 of this report, the target levels of domestic installations by 2005, would achieve
the following levels of energy savings and CO2 emissions:

                                                 PROSPECTS 2005
                     Glazed           Unglazed          Total             Total           Solar           Avoided
                    collector         collector        glazed           unglazed        thermal            CO2
                      sales             sales         collector         collector        energy          emissions
                                                        sales             sales        production
                       m2                 m2             m2                m2          GWh/year         tonnes/year
 Baseline            70.000                           700.000                              160            90.000
Maximum             210.000                           1.575.000                            360            210.000
              Table 13.1 Prospect solar market and environmental impact in the year 2005.
Note: the figures stated above do not include energy savings and reductions in CO2 emissions that will be generated by
      swimming pool active solar installations.
                                                        - 221 -
ESIF - Solar thermal strategy study - SUN IN ACTION                               UNITED KINGDOM - Page 14

14. Strategy to attain the targets

In the recent UK solar thermal industry development study, in order to identify the strategic measures
appropriate to industry development, barriers to market growth were considered. The principal barriers
identified in the study are summarised below:

*        the small size of the UK market and the lack of public awareness results in high marketing
         costs per transaction. This in turn raises system prices to the extent that the economics of a
         solar system installation can appear weak;
*        the economics of solar thermal systems are further weakened by the negative impact of VAT.
         Potential purchasers of solar thermal systems would require to pay 17.5% VAT on the solar
         system cost whereas the energy bills that are saved are only subject to VAT at 8%. Further,
         environmental costs are not fully reflected in traditional energy costs and therefore are rarely
         appropriately addressed in an economic consideration of solar thermal technologies;
*        there is a lack of awareness amongst the general population of the availability of proven solar
         thermal technologies and of the extent to which solar thermal systems work in the UK (with a
         common misconception being that there is insufficient sunshine in the UK for solar systems to
*        the lack of awareness referred to above also extends to industry groups (including architects,
         the building industry, housing associations and certain utility companies) and government
         departments which could be significant users or promoters of solar thermal technologies and
         to the heating engineer industry (from where future installers will need to be sourced);
*        for the majority of new housebuilding there is relatively low priority given to energy efficiency
         features such as solar thermal installations;
*        as many of the companies in the UK solar thermal industry are relatively small, most do not
         have the financial ability to mount large scale promotional campaigns;
*        there is a lack of capital available for investment in solar thermal systems and a shortage of
         financing regimes for funding such investment. This is compounded by the fact that "payback"
         is often used as the key measure in the investment appraisal of solar thermal installations;
*        whilst the UK solar thermal industry is currently participating in the development of European
         standards, there is, at present, a lack of infrastructure in the UK market covering issues such as
         standards and training and certification for the installation of systems. This reduces the level of
         confidence of potential consumers in the quality of the installation which they may be
         considering purchasing;
*        there is an absence of useful, well presented, independent information proving the practical
         performance of solar thermal systems.
In light of the barriers identified above, various measures to encourage UK market growth were
proposed by representatives of the industry during the UK solar thermal industry development study
and are as follows:
(i)      Expand the STA with a marketing drive to recruit new members (and with a membership fee
         structure which encourages a broader membership);
(ii)     Develop new promotional literature (preferably a collaboration between the STA and the UK
         government's Department of Trade and Industry) with specific brochures aimed at targeted

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ESIF - Solar thermal strategy study - SUN IN ACTION                             UNITED KINGDOM - Page 15

         market sectors (e.g. building companies, housing associations, utility companies, heating
(iii)    Develop and implement a marketing plan covering a range of promotional activities including:
         -       dissemination of promotional literature;
         -       roadshows;
         -       exhibitions;
         -       conferences;
         -       media promotion, advertising and editorial.
         The implementation of such a plan and the co-ordination of responses arising from interest
         derived from such a plan could take advantage of the strong regional coverage of Energy
         Advice Centres. As well as raising awareness, marketing activities should be directed to
         promoting the range of benefits provided by solar thermal systems and so reduce the present
         emphasis on payback;
(iv)     Encourage the establishment of demonstration solar thermal systems throughout the UK;
(v)      Establish working relationships between the STA and heating engineer associations and
         implement initiatives to put into place training infrastructures and certification procedures for
         the installation of solar thermal systems;
(vi)     Develop educational packages for distribution to schools, colleges and universities;
(vii)    Encourage the broader involvement of utility companies in the UK solar thermal industry.
         Such a measure could include the invitation of utility company representatives to presentations
         by the UK solar thermal industry (preferably with such presentations facilitated by ETSU);
(viii)   Devise and propose mechanisms for providing a strategy to support (through financing) new
         solar installations; such a strategy could provide an alternative to the UK government's "Non
         Fossil Fuel Obligation" regime which precludes support to heat producing renewables such as
         solar thermal;
(ix)     Lobby the European Commission and the UK government for an improvement in the VAT
         treatment of solar thermal systems (including the preparation, in co-ordination with ESIF, of a
         statement of reasoned arguments in favour of removal or reduction of VAT on solar thermal
(x)      Encourage research and development into the reduction of solar thermal system costs and the
         integration of solar technologies with other building and energy efficiency components and
         concepts (such a measure would include increasing awareness of assistance available from the
         EC and the DTI to companies toward research and development projects);
(xi)     Develop relationships with other EU member states' solar trade associations and seek
         involvement in collaborative programmes such as (partially) EC funded projects;
(xii)    Develop relationships with other UK renewable energy associations and pursue the possibility
         of collaborative measures (especially with regard to promotional activity). Discuss a medium
         term move to establish a UK Federation of Renewable Energy Industries with a view to
         creating a more powerful commercial and political voice for the various renewable energy
         industries in the UK;
(xiii)   Lobby government to adopt a more positive and co-ordinated approach to presenting the case
         for inclusion of solar thermal systems within the programmes and plans of various
         government departments;
(xiv)    Continue to participate actively in the development of European standards and, subject to the
         satisfactory establishment of such standards, pursue the speedy introduction of common
(xv)     Lobby for increased emphasis on the energy ratings of houses;
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ESIF - Solar thermal strategy study - SUN IN ACTION                           UNITED KINGDOM - Page 16

(xvi)  Develop self-regulation within the UK solar thermal industry governing such matters as quality
       of systems, sales techniques, handling of complaints, disciplinary procedures, arbitration etc.;
(xvii) Formulate proposals and enter discussions with financial institutions for financing mechanisms
       for funding solar thermal installations.

General themes of the measures outlined above are the need for promotion and marketing initiatives to
increase the awareness of the general public and potential promoters / distributors that solar thermal
systems work in the UK and that high quality, proven systems are available, and the need to develop
training and quality assurance infrastructures. Agreement for the necessity for measures which address
these key areas is widespread across the industry.
The removal or reduction of VAT applied to solar installations also, unsurprisingly, has widespread
support from within the UK solar thermal industry. The act of removing or reducing VAT on solar
thermal installations would in itself generate promotion, increase public awareness and confidence,
provide a background against which businesses have the confidence to invest in marketing and other
business development activities and attract new entrants (possibly including high profile companies) to
the industry. The removal of VAT could therefore be a key stimulus to the growth of the UK solar
thermal industry and could be singularly the most effective measure which the government could take.
It is recognised, however, that changes in the VAT regime as it relates to solar thermal installations
will require a considerable lobbying effort and may need to take account of European legislation; these
issues will be reflected within the measure referred to above.

The successful implementation of the proposed measures outlined above will depend upon the level of
funding made available. As the majority of companies operating in the UK solar thermal industry are
small, the industry itself has only very limited funds to apply to such measures. The implementation of
the market development programme will therefore require funding to be made available from the UK
government and/or funding assistance from the EC and other sources. The extent to which such
funding may become available remains to be seen.

15. Results expected when the targets are reached
As previously highlighted, the development of the UK solar thermal industry would create job
opportunities within the UK. The estimation of the number of jobs that may be created, by necessity,
requires broad assumptions to be made. Based on assumptions set out in the STA's industry
development study, the amount of new jobs that may be created from an increase in the level of UK
domestic installations of 10.000 systems per year are projected to be as follows:

                                                      - 224 -
ESIF - Solar thermal strategy study - SUN IN ACTION                                            UNITED KINGDOM - Page 17

    Activity                                                   No. of jobs created
    Manufacturing of components for active solar heating systems                                           200
    Installation of systems                                           200
    Distribution                                                       10
    Sales and marketing                                               100
    Testing and quality assurance                                      20
    Training                                                            5
    Consultancy services                                               15
    Total                                                             550
Note: the figures stated above do not include jobs that would be created from growth in swimming pool active solar
      installations. Further, they assume that any increases in imports arising from UK market growth will be matched by
      increases in the levels of exports achieved by the UK industry.

By the year 2005, therefore, assuming that the maximum support programme, referred to in section 13
of this report, is followed, the creation of at least 3.200 new jobs within the UK is projected.
As set out in section 13 of this report, the following levels of energy savings and CO2 emissions would
be achieved:
Baseline Programme: 700.000 m2 of collector area installed, energy savings of 160 GWh/year and
90.000 tonnes/year of reduction in CO2 emissions.
Maximum Support Programme: 1.575.000 m2 of collector area installed, energy savings of 360
GWh/year and 210.000 tonnes/year of reduction in CO2 emissions.
Note: the figures stated above do not include energy savings and reductions in CO2 emissions that will be generated by
       swimming pool active solar installations.

16.          References

[1] Energy Paper Number 62: New and Renewable Energy: Future Prospects in the UK
    Published in March 1994 by the UK government's Department of Trade and Industry

[2] Report ETSU S 1337: Review of Active Solar Technologies
    Published in March 1992 by the government's Energy Technology Support Unit, prepared by
    Halcrow Gilbert Associates Ltd with JR Stammers

[3] Active Solar Heating Industry Development Study, Final Draft
    Prepared by the STA; final draft dated 7 April 1995

[4] Digest of UK Energy Statistics 1994
    Published by the UK government in 1994

SOLAR THERMAL DIRECTORY                                         APPROPRIATE ENERGY SYSTEMS LTD (Weatherwise
1. Manufacturers and distributors of                            The Park, Findhorn Bay, Forres, Scotland, IV36 0TZ
                                                                and / or 23 Denbigh Street, London, SW1V 2HF
     solar thermal equipment                                    Tel. +44 1309 691032          Fax. +44 1309 690933
                                                                 Contact:    Mr. G. Goudsmit
Manufacturers of solar                 thermal        panels,    Manufacturers of flat plate collectors. Suppliers of complete
supplying nationally:                                           systems and DIY kits.

                                                         - 225 -
ESIF - Solar thermal directory - SUN IN ACTION                                                         UNITED KINGDOM - Page 18

 Start of business:         1979
 Number of employees:       5                                       National marketing, sales and installation
Woodington Mill, East Wellow, Romsey, Hampshire, SO21 6DQ
                                                                     MEB CONTRACTING LTD
Tel. +44 1794 322884        Fax +44 1794 322885
                                                                     Ex MEB Industrial Estate, Redditch, Worcestershire
 Contact:    Mr. M. Wood                                            Tel. +44 121 423 2345       Fax. +44 121 423 2403
 Manufacturers of Suncell polypropylene twin wall collectors for     Contact:    Mr. C. Houlston
swimming pool heating.
                                                                     RAYOTEC LTD
FIELDWAY LTD (The Fundamental Energy Company),                       London Road, Sunningdale, SL5 0DJ
Parkfield House, 13 Cathedral View, Highcliffe Road, Winchester,     (for telephone and fax number and contact refer to Thermomax
SO23 0PR                                                             Ltd above)
Tel. +44 1962 861051           Fax. +44 1962 855693
 Contact:      Mr. N. Parkinson                                     SOLAREC
 Manufacturers and installers of flat plate Solarec systems.        Parkfield House, 13 Cathedral View, Highcliffe Road,
Suppliers of boiler control systems and water purification, Solena   Winchester, SO23 0PR
pool tiles, Resol system controllers and pool covers.                (for telephone and fax number and contact refer to Fieldway Ltd)
 Start of business:           1972
 Number of employees:         7                                    SUNUSER LTD
                                                                    156 Buslingthorpe Lane, Meanwood, Leeds, LS7 2DQ
FILSOL LTD                                                          Tel. +44 113 2620261         Fax. +44 113 2623970
Unit 15, Ponthenri Industrial Estate, Ponthenri, Dyfed, Wales, SA15  Contact:    Miss S. Hayton
Tel. +44 1269 860979          Fax. +44 1269 860979                  Manufacturers of solar thermal controllers:
 Contact:      Mr. R. Blower
 Manufacturers of flat plate collectors, photovoltaic panels and RAYDAN LTD
ancillary equipment.                                                54 Southview Road, Southwick, West Sussex, BN42 4TT
 Start of business:          1981                                  Tel. +44 1273 592502         Fax. +44 1273 592502
 Number of employees:        9                                      Contact:    Mr. R. Bridges

THERMOMAX LTD                                                        THERMOMAX LTD
Balloo Crescent, Bangor, BT19 2UP                                    - as listed under manufacturers of solar thermal panels
Also at London Road, Sunningdale, SL5 0DJ
Also at Hawtin Park, Blackwood, Gwent, NP2 2EU
Also Italy, USA, Canada and Singapore
Tel. +44 1247 270411          Fax. +44 1247 270572                   Importers of solar thermal controllers:
 Contact:     Dr. F. Mahdjuri (Bangor),
Tel. +44 1344 874747          Fax.+44 1344 872031                    SUNDWEL LTD
 Contact:     Mr. S. Sabba (Sunningdale)                            - as listed under manufacturers of solar thermal panels
 Manufacturers and installers of evacuated heat pipe solar           Importers of Resol controllers.
collectors. Also manufacturers and suppliers of ECO 450 energy
management controllers.                                              FIELDWAY LTD
 Number of employees:        134                                    - as listed under manufacturers of solar thermal panels
                                                                      Importers of Resol controllers.
7 Tower Road, Glover Industrial Estate, Washington, NE37 2SH         Suppliers of selective surfaces:
Tel. +44 191 4163001 Fax. +44 191 4163001
 Contact:      Mr. I. Calderwood                                    INCO ALLOYS LTD
 Manufacturers and installers of flat plate collectors. Supplier of Homer Road, Hereford, HR4 9SL
Resol controllers.                                                   Tel. +44 1432 382200       Fax. +44 1432 352982
 Start of business:           1976                                   Contact:    Mr. K. Barr
 Number of employees:         6
                                                                     RIGIDISED METALS LTD
Importers:                                                           Aden Road, Ponders End, Enfield, EN3 7SU
                                                                     Tel. +44 181 804 0633       Fax. +44 181 805 9848
RIOMAY LTD                                                            Contact:    Mr. D. Wadley
22 Hawthorne Rd., Eastbourne, Sussex, BN23 6QA
Tel. +44 1323 648541          Fax. +44 1323 720682
 Contact:     Mr. A. Book                                           2. Technical consultants
 Importers of Hitachi evacuated tube systems                           specialising in solar projects
 Number of employees:        5

                                                             - 226 -
ESIF - Solar thermal directory - SUN IN ACTION                                                          UNITED KINGDOM - Page 19

The Old School, Eglwysfach, Machnylleth, Powys, SY20 9AZ              ENERGY EQUIPMENT TESTING SERVICE
Tel. +44 1654 781332        Fax. +44 1654 781390                      - see under Testing Facilities.
 Contact:    Mr. G. Watson
                                                                      NAPIER UNIVERSITY
ENERGY FOR SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT LTD - ESD                          - see under Testing Facilities.
Overmoor Farm, Neston, Corsham, Wiltshire, SN13 9TZ
Tel. +44 171792 2241       Fax. +44 171792 2543                       SOLAR         ENERGY          MATERIALS         RESEARCH
 Contact:    Mr. G. Kenna                                            LABORATORY
                                                                      Oxford Brookes University, Headington, Oxford, OX3 OBP
THE FRANKLIN COMPANY CONSULTANTS LTD                                  Tel. +44 1865 483235         Fax. +44 1865 483298
192 Franklin Road, Birmingham, B30 2HE                                 Contact:    Prof. M. Hutchins
Tel. +44 121 459 4826       Fax. +44 121 459 8206                      Transmission of glazing materials
 Contact:    Dr. L. Jesch
                                                                      UNIVERSITY OF READING - ENERGY GROUP
HALCROW GILBERT ASSOCIATES LTD                                        Department of Engineering, Whiteknights, Reading, Berkshire,
Burderop Park, Swindon, SN4 0QD                                       RG6 2AY
Tel. +44 1793 814756       Fax. +44 1793 815020                       Tel. +44 1734 318565           Fax. +44 1734 313327
 Contact:    Mr. Rod Hacker                                           Specialise in third world projects

I.T. POWER LTD                                                        UNIVERSITY OF STRATHCLYDE ENERGY STUDIES
The Warren, Bramshill Road, Eversley, Hampshire, RG27 0PR             AND SUSTAINABLE TECHNOLOGY UNIT
Tel. +44 1734 730073        Fax. +44 1734 730820                      Glasgow, G1 1XQ
 Contact:    Mr. B. McNelis                                          Tel +44 1552 4400            Fax. +44 1552 1416
                                                                       Monitoring, research and development
3. Principal sources of
Machynlleth, Powys, SY20 9AZ
Tel. +44 1654 702400       Fax. +44 1654 702400
 Contact:    Mr. B. Horne

B 156 Harwell Laboratory, Oxfordshire, OX11 0RA
Tel. +44 1235 433517        Fax. +44 1235 432923
 Contact:    Dr. D. Martin

Pengillan, Lerryn, Lostwithiel, Cornwall, PL22 0QE
Tel. +44 1208 873518           Fax. +44 1208 873518
 Contact:     Dr. R. Swayne

4. Testing facilities
University of Wales, College of Cardiff,
104 Portmanmoor Road, Industrial Estate, Cardiff, CF2 2HB
Tel. +44 1222 490871          Fax. +44 1222 490871
 Contact:    Mr. B. Cross
 European standards testing and test equipment design and

Energy Centre, 10 Colinton Road, Edinburgh, EH10 5DT
Tel. +44 131 455 2660        Fax. +44 131 447 8046
 Contact:     Mr. K. MacGregor
 Testing, consultancy and monitoring of solar thermal systems

5. Solar research centres
                                                                 - 227 -