Recently, there has been a growing interest in the usage of mm-scale composites of plasmonic nanoparticles for enhancing the rates of chemical reactions; the effect was shown recently to be predominantly associated with the elevated temperature caused by illumination. Here, we study the dependence of the temperature distribution on the various parameters of these samples, and provide analytic expressions for simple cases. We show that since these systems are usually designed to absorb all the incoming light, the temperature distribution in them is weakly-dependent on the illumination spectrum, pulse duration, particle shape, size and density. Thus, changes in these parameters yield at most modest quantitative changes. We also show that the temperature distribution is linearly dependent on the beam radius and the thermal conductivity of the host. Finally, we study the sensitivity of the reaction rate to these parameters as a function of the activation energy and show how it manifests itself in various previous experimental reports. These results would simplify the optimization of photocatalysis experiments, as well as of other energy-related applications based on light harvesting for heat generation.