Innovative Solar PV Secondary Heating Trials Successfully Completed by EHC

Innovative Electric Heating and Hot Water experts The Electric Heating Company have successfully completed 12 month Trials of their Solar PV Secondary Heating Solution. These Trials have proven this Solution can increase PV self-consumption by an average of 42%, increase the base temperature of rooms by 3°C and provide significant cost and CO2 savings. Consumer feedback on the Solution has also been extremely positive.

In early 2016 EHC were approached by several RSL customers who installed Solar PV arrays across their housing stock, however feedback from their Tenants indicated that they would like to increase their utilisation of the Solar PV generation to achieve greater cost savings as the Tenants do not receive the Feed in Tariff for the PV generation. The RSLs asked if EHC could provide a cost effective solution which could increase PV self-consumption and provide ‘free’ heating for their Tenants. Specifically, some RSLs would like to provide additional ‘free’ heating for Tenants who are elderly or fuel poor.

Technology Used by This Innovative Solution

To assist these RSLs, EHC designed a Solution that utilised Solar PV Ready Radiators working in conjunction with an Intelligent Controller. This ensured that the Tenant is using all of the Solar PV energy being generated and minimising what generation is sent back to the Grid. The system will operate in a manner that the feed in tariff received for generation is not affected and can still be received by the appropriate party.

The Solar PV Ready Radiators have a ceramic core which benefit from partial storage and can operate from as low as a small trickle of current being fed to them up to the full current required to heat the radiator to its maximum output. The Intelligent Controller ensures that the Tenants power demand e.g. for the kettle, vacuum cleaner, television etc. is met first by the Solar PV generation and only the excess PV generation not otherwise utilised is sent to the Solar PV Ready Radiators. The system can be programmed for up to three appliances to suit the Tenants wishes, for example to operate with three ceramic radiators or two ceramic radiators and a hot water cylinder. The priority order of the appliances can also be programmed to suit the Tenants wishes and changed seasonly.

The intention of these Solar PV Ready Radiators is not to provide a whole heating system for a property but to provide a background heat during the day until the main central heating system in the property is required. Where heating during peak times is unaffordable for the Tenant, this solution will be beneficial for both comfort and cost.

Comprehensive Trials Independently Analysed

As EHC were approached by several RSL customers to develop this solution, these customers agreed to provide a minimum number of trial participants to prove the solution is effective and provides a benefit. The participants identified included a wide range of Tenant spread across the UK; fuel poor, elderly, low income families or Tenants who had previously expressed a desire to increase the self-consumption of their PV generation.

EHC chose an independent third party specialist, Delta EE, to monitor and analyse the Trial results over a 12 month period. EHC believe that it is vital an independent third party like Delta EE supported the analysis and evaluation of the trial results.

Final Trial Results

The final Trial results proved to be significantly better than any prior predictions made by Delta EE. The Trial results achieved were:

  • The Solution increased PV self-consumption on average by 42%
  • Average estimated Annual Bill Savings of £42 for properties with Gas Central Heating and £185 for properties with all Electric Heating
  • Average estimated CO2 Savings of 199kg for properties with Gas Central Heating and 868kg for properties with all Electric Heating
  • Average room temperature increase of 3°C in rooms fitted

The stand out result, however, has been the Tenant feedback received. All Tenants who participated in the Trials found the Solution a benefit and that it ‘makes sense for others to use.’ Specifically, some Tenants commented the difference in room temperatures was noticeable and rooms not previously heated were now ‘a pleasant temperature.’ Some Tenants also commented that the financial savings ‘will continue to increase if Energy Tariffs continue to rise.’

With these great results and positive Tenant feedback, EHC hope this Solution will be given credence by the UK Government in the Standard Assessment Procedure (SAP) Regulations. Recognition in SAP would hopefully allow this Solution to be supported by ECO or Warm Homes Funding and, specifically, provide a real benefit to those living in Fuel Poverty.

If you would like to find out more about this innovative Secondary Heating Solution and discuss the Trial results in detail, please do not hesitate to contact EHC on 01698 820 533 or email [email protected]