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Contract awarded to supply UK-first solar thermal network

Star Renewable Energy (Star) has won a £350,000 contract to supply heat pumps for a renewable energy scheme which will see solar thermal panels being used to power a district heating scheme, Herald Scotland has reported.

Under the contract Star will design and build a large-scale heat pump system connected to a solar energy farm to be built in the new town of Cranbrook, now under construction near Exeter.

The system will provide heat and hot water to the town’s district heating scheme, one of the largest in the country, operated by German energy giant E.On.

As part of the project, Star will install a high-temperature heat pump that will draw heat from approximately 2,000 square metres of ground-mounted solar thermal panels.

The panels will produce hot water at 55 degrees during the day and Star’s heat pumps will boost the water temperature to 80 degrees overnight, when off-peak electricity is cheap.

This should allow the system to meet peak demand for energy in the morning.

A network of super-insulated underground pipes will deliver the harvested heat and hot water to 3,500 new homes in Cranbrook being built by Taylor Wimpey, Persimmon and Bovis, as well as to the nearby new £210m Skypark industrial estate.

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