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Caplin Solar scales-up thermal storage heating for commercial use

Company is introducing its Earth Energy Bank storage technology along with photovoltaic-thermal panels and heat pumps in 47 homes as part of renewable-focused commercial project

A thermal storage project in Northamptonshire is expected to provide 47 new homes with their annual hot water and heating needs via renewable energy sources such as solar power.

The Earth Energy Bank technology developed by Caplin Solar will be used at the Priors Hall Park development in Northamptonshire and is a patented solution designed to generate more energy than is actually needed in a home.

Shallow bores gathered in a matrix structure sit in the footprint of a home to store heat in warmer months. This can then be repurposed for heating in colder periods, according to the manufacturer.

Hybrid photovoltaic-thermal (PV-T) panels will be used in the system to generate electricity and also to collect thermal energy. Heated fluid in the panels is then pumped through the Earth Energy Bank. Ground source heat pumps can then be used to extract stored heat with the overall process and energy flow managed via an integrated controller that can determine the most efficient energy source to address demand.

Caplin Solar has said that the Earth Energy Bank technology was first installed in 2013, with the 47 home Priors Hall Park development project representing the first commercial scale implementation of the technology.

Company director Michael Goddard said that the project served as an important showcase for the system and its ability to address growing pressure for lower carbon alternatives for heating and powering homes.

He said, “After years of development and use on smaller projects, we’re delighted to be able to demonstrate how it can be applied on a larger scale.”

“The Committee on Climate Change has found that the country has little more than ten years to make all new buildings carbon neutral and we’re confident that our technology can make a substantial contribution to the country’s ambition to reach net zero carbon emissions by 2050.”

€750,000 (£684,195) in EU funding has been awarded to Electric Corby, the Priors Hall Park project’s sponsors, to evaluate potential benefits of transforming buildings through the combined use of heat pumps, thermal storage and PV-T. The funds have been provided as part of the Horizon 2020 CHESS SETUP project that looks at energy self-sufficiency in buildings.

Data concerning the performance of the system will be collected by Cardiff University as part of the project. Caplin Solar added that De Montfort University will also be researching the Priors Hall Park development in the hope of developing a mathematical model to support wider use of the technology.

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