Solar Thermal Case Study – Mrs Sharpe, Rugby

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Solar Thermal Case Study: Mrs Sharpe from Rugby

With her old oil boiler failing and costing a fortune in energy bills, Mrs Sharpe decided to invest in an efficient solar thermal system for her large bed and breakfast farmhouse.

Mrs Sharpe explains: “The farmhouse is more than a century old and has six bedrooms so it takes a lot of heating during the winter months. Our old oil heating system was also very inefficient, mainly because it would heat every room – which is unnecessary, expensive and wasteful when the rooms are empty.


“Our old oil heating system was very inefficient, mainly because it would heat every room – which is unnecessary, expensive and wasteful when the rooms are empty.”


“With the cost of oil reaching sky-high prices we decided we had to become more efficient in our energy use and contacted Lewington Solar with view to upgrading the oil central heating system and installing solar energy.”



“After our initial consultation, Darren King, the Renewable Energy Manager, recommended we install one condensing oil fired boiler, two solar panels and a twin coiled mains pressure hot water cylinder at a total cost of £9,500.”

Darren says: “Efficiency was Mrs Sharpe’s main objective with the new heating system so we also installed thermostatic radiator valves to enable her to turn the radiators off or down and created two zones so she can heat each floor independently. When there are no guests, she can just heat the rooms she uses.

“The solar thermal system will generate at least 70 per cent of the bed and breakfast’s hot water and reduce strain on the new oil boiler, which will increase its lifespan. Over its estimated 20-year life, the solar system should save Mrs Sharpe £150 On top of the fuel savings, from 2012 the system should also generate an income of between £150 and £300 a year from the government’s renewable heat incentive (RHI) scheme. As a whole, it should take between 8 to 10 years to pay itself back.

With the installation now complete, Mrs Sharpe couldn’t be happier with the results. “We’ve already noticed a 50 per cent reduction in our energy bills,” she says. “Between the solar panels, the new boiler, the thermostatic radiator values and the two heating zones that we now have in the house, I’m delighted with the performance of the system.


“We’ve already noticed a 50 per cent reduction in our energy bills”


“I’d also give Lewington Solar 10 out of 10 for their service! The staff were very friendly and I never felt uncomfortable when they were working in the house.”


Know the facts

Solar panels

  • Contrary to popular belief, solar panels are suited to the UK’s temperate climate because they absorb light and UV energy – direct sunlight is not essential.
  • Solar panels enable you to save 50 to 70 per cent on your hot water bills and improve your home’s energy efficiency.
  • The life expectancy of solar panels is in excess of 20 years.
  • Solar panels from Lewington Solar come with a 5-year warranty and don’t need any servicing or maintenance.
  • Greater demand for solar energy has reduced manufacturing costs, making solar panels more affordable than ever. Prices now typically start from just £3,400 and the average payback period is 8 to 10 years.
  • Solar panels are subject to a reduced VAT rate of just 5 per cent.
  • Solar panels can increase the value of your home by up to £10,000 and make it easier to sell.
  • Solar panels reduce the strain on your main heating system, which helps to prolong its life and reduces servicing costs.
  • Planning permission is generally not needed, although we recommend you call your local planning office to check.



For more information on renewable energy sources and how Lewington Solar can help you lower your energy bills, visit our website at, email or call 01858 433 333 and ask to speak to Darren King. If you would like to speak to Mr Barlow directly about his solar thermal system, please let us know and we will arrange for you to do so.