Interim Report Shows Zero Carbon Solar House Success
The UK’s first fully solar-powered new build home is performing above expectations, according to an interim report into the effectiveness of its energy system.
Reviewing energy flows within Caplin Homes’ Solar House in Leicestershire, the paper suggests that the building will successfully remain self-sufficient all year round. Performance characteristics of the zero carbon Solar House explores the house’s heating and cooling requirements, and reviews the discharging and recharging of the building’s unique inter-seasonal energy store, the Earth Energy Bank (EEB).
Even with the relatively mild winter taken into account, energy flows into and out of the EEB, which is drawn upon to heat the house and provide hot water during the coldest weeks of the year, are at a level to effectively recharge in spring and summer. The interim paper shows that the house was able to maintain a stable temperature throughout the winter season.
The Solar House, built by Caplin Homes, uses a unique combination of new and existing technologies to meet its full annual heating, hot water and lighting requirements. The project aims to demonstrate that zero carbon house building is both practical and financially viable.
Compiled by Robin Talbot as part of an MSc by Research degree at De Montfort University’s Institute of Energy and Sustainable Development, the interim and final reports will be used to evaluate the system, which was used for the first time in the Solar House. Caplin Homes will then use the results to refine the design of its energy system, with a view to developing out-of-the box solutions for a range of house types.
Michael Goddard, director of Caplin Homes, commented: “We’re extremely pleased with the results achieved so far. The report has shown the system to be effective and suggests that we may even have overspecified certain aspects of the building’s technology. We’re already using this data to further improve our system models, so that future projects are even more cost-effective.”
The report covers the period between August 2013 and April 2014 and will be followed with a full twelve month review of the building’s performance later this year. For more information on the Solar House, visit www.solar-house.co.uk.
Masdar, PT PLN begin work on floating PV solar project
UAE-based renewable energy company Masdar, in partnership with PT PLN, an organisation specialising in electrical power and owned by the Indonesian government, has announced today it has started work on a floating photovoltaic (PV) solar project in West Java. The company says the 145MW plant is the first of its kind in the country. The project, which will be constructed on the Cirata reservoir in West Java, was financed by the Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation, Societe Generale, and Standard Chartered Bank.
Developing the project is PT Pembangkitan Jawa Bali Masdar Solar Energi (PMSE), a joint venture between Masdar and PT PLN subsidiary PT PJBI. Bahlil Lahadalia, Minister of Investment for the Republic of Indonesia and chairman of the Indonesia Investment Coordinating Board, said: “This is a flagship project of the UAE’s investment in Indonesia, and most importantly, it is in line with the Indonesian Government’s target to increase renewable energy by 23% by 2025.”
Ladhadalia added: “The Ministry of Investment fully supports the investment realisation of the Cirata Floating Solar Project by PT PJBI and Masdar.” The plant is said to be the largest in south-east Asia, and one of the biggest in the world. Around 800 jobs will be created during its construction phase.
During the project’s development, Masdar has conducted several social initiatives to raise awareness of sustainability and strengthen the engagement of the local community. Talking about the partnership with Masdar, Amir Faisal, president director of PJBI, said: “We see tremendous potential for similar projects in Indonesia and we look forward to continuing our fruitful collaboration with Masdar to work on more renewable energy projects and help our nation achieve its clean energy objectives.
“This floating power project is a first for Indonesia and is also a significant step in PJBI’s renewable energy journey,” he added.
Facts about solar energy
- Solar power is the most abundant energy source on earth: There’s enough solar energy reaching the earth every hour to meet all of humanity’s power needs for a whole year.
- The cost of solar panels has fallen by 99% since 1977: The price per watt for a single solar cell in 1977 was US$77. Today that same cell costs Us$0.21 per watt US$0.39 per watt for an assembled module, according to the Solar Energy Industries Association.
- China is the global leader in solar energy: Whilst solar power is increasing in popularity in the US, China is currently the country with the biggest uptake. Research conducted by GTM in 2017 predicted that the US would install 12.4GW of solar power during that year. China, on the other hand, installed 24.4GW of power in the first half of 2017 alone.