The country’s largest domestic photovoltaic-thermal (PV-T) array has been installed at a newly built family home near Canterbury.
In a bid to go green, the Goodey family has invested in a system that can meet their building’s full heating and hot water requirements all year round using only solar power.
Along with a patented inter-seasonal energy store and a water-water heat pump, these hybrid PV-T solar collectors make up a system called the Zero Carbon Solution (ZCS).
With 36 PV-T panels spreading across an area of 57 sq m, the Goodeys’ solar array is the largest of its kind in the country.
The panels will generate 9kWp of electricity, the rate at which the system generates energy at peak performance, and 27kWp of heat.
This will allow the family to reduce their carbon dioxide emissions by up to 10 tonnes every year.
The array, which uses Solar Angel PV-T panels, was supplied by Natural Technology Developments. The panels are highly efficient and reliable, producing over four times more energy than standard PV.
Electrical energy collected from the array will be used first and foremost to meet any immediate needs in the home, including the heat pump.
Any excess energy is then directed to an immersion heater in the hot water tank. Thermal energy from the array is used to warm the underground store, called the Earth Energy Bank (EEB).
The EEB consists of a matrix of boreholes just 1.5m deep within the building’s foundations.
The Goodeys’ property covers 600 sq m and houses 90 bores within its foundations. In winter, when solar power alone may not be enough to meet the home’s daily needs, the system will draw upon this stored heat.
The system, provided by Caplin Homes, is suitable for new-build homes of all sizes as well as low-rise commercial developments.