University Conference Tackles Decarbonisation of Heating

Warwick_university_decarbonising_heat1

While most experts agree that decarbonising our heating one hundred per cent is not possible at the moment, lowering our collective carbon footprint can be significantly improved by using technologies such as heat pumps in the future. At the University of Warwick in October, there is a conference based on just that assumption.

With the UK government taking more interest in low carbon techs to help meet our climate change obligations over the next decade or so, this could be a good time to invest and install a heat pump. The Future Thermal Energy Conference at the university is going to look at the political and technological advances that need to be made if we want to move to a more decarbonised economy.

According to the Head of Energy and Sustainability at the university:

“The reality is that we need to be compliant not just with our 2016 challenges but where the policy expects us to get to, and that doesn’t mean finding fancier ways to burn gas – it means complete decarbonisation of heat and power within a generation. Only then will we be sustainable.”

The conference will discuss issues such as how we achieve decarbonisation over the next few years, what influence district heating systems can have, a variety of different technologies such as heat pumps, biomass and solar thermal and how people can be encouraged to switch to more renewable heating. The conference is not only aimed at industry leaders but businesses and private individuals who want to find a way to cut down their carbon emissions.

One thing is for sure. If the Government is serious about us moving to these new heating systems, for both domestic and commercial markets, then there needs to be incentives in place. There are strong rumours that the Renewable Heat Incentive or RHI is going to be repackaged and that more assistance will be given to those who want to change to systems like heat pumps.

There has already been a consultation which took place before the demise of the Department of Energy and Climate Change. This put a more forceful case forward for the decarbonisation of our heating in the UK. The primary reason is that heating accounts for almost half of our carbon emissions and, if any impact is to be made and we are to meet our climate change obligations, this needs to addressed as a matter of urgency.

Even with the death of the DECC and its change to the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, the focus on developing decarbonised heating seems to have remained. There were many who thought that climate change was being pushed on the back burner when the announcement was made post-Brexit and the Government will have to do some work to make sure this perception is not realised. Their track record over the last few years has been luke warm on renewable technology, to say the least.

There is a long way to go before we all have heat pumps in our home and the logistics of converting a largely gas and electricity based heating system and culture to something more sustainable and carbon friendly is not going to be easy. It can be done, however. According to many experts it has to be done – if we fail then there will be no possibility of bringing down carbon emissions and offsetting the effects of climate change.

The conference is at the University of Warwick on 10th and 11th October.

Why You Should Install a Heat Pump in Your Home and How to Do It

Heat Pumps

News that the Government is about to increase payments through their Renewable Heat Incentive for low carbon technologies such as heat pumps could have major benefits for households and businesses across the UK over the next year or so. The city of Drammen in Norway switched to heat pump technology and managed to decarbonise its city heating by 85%. With the right incentive for the UK, it’s hoped that the same kind of reductions could be made and, in the process, significantly lower our collective carbon footprint.

About a half of carbon emissions for the UK come from commercial and domestic heating – and we need to reduce this quickly if we are to meet our climate change obligations. Switching to low carbon technology such as a heat pump, therefore, makes good sense.

The Benefits of a Heat Pump

  • Despite the fact that it uses a small amount of electricity to run, heat pumps are seen as a renewable heating technology.
  • They take the latent heat from the ground, air or even water to provide hot water and heating.
  • If you are replacing something like conventional electric heating, you can expect to see a significant reduction in your fuel bills.
  • You can also lower your carbon emissions depending on the fuel system you are replacing.
  • You can get extra income from the Government’s Renewable Heat Incentive which may well be increased shortly to encourage uptake over the next year or so.
  • Low operating costs and low maintenance means that heat pumps are a highly attractive way to heat your home or business if you have the right kind of property.

Types of Heat Pump

There are three main types of heat pump – ground, air and water sourced. They essentially work in a similar way to your refrigerator but in reverse, heating up rather than cooling down by a process of compression. There is heat in everything around us and this technology can extract it even if the temperatures outside are below zero.

Air Sourced Heat Pumps: These are fitted to the outside wall of your property and use a fan mechanism to draw in the air. This is then fed into a compressor that increases the temperature which is then subsequently fed into your hot water and heating systems.

Ground Sourced Heat Pumps: This requires more work and comes at a higher cost but is also considered more efficient. A network of pipes is laid in the ground surrounding your property and these extract the heat which is then fed into your home system.

Water Sourced Heat Pumps: It’s not just ground and air that can be used to produce heat. Any decent sized water source such as a lake or pond can be used, even a river.

Are You Well Insulated?

Heat pumps work at lower temperatures than traditional heating systems so your home or business property needs to have good insulation. For new properties this isn’t normally a problem but for older ones it might require some remedial work before installing a heat pump becomes viable. The good news is that recent developments means that we may soon have commercially available heat pumps that produce much higher temperatures, solving this problem once and for all.

What is the Renewable Heat Incentive?

The RHI was introduced by the Government in 2011 and was intended to help those who took up renewable heating like biomass, solar thermal and heat pumps, making sure they would be rewarded for doing so. It basically pays a certain amount for every kWh of heat produced and is paid quarterly for the first seven years of the installation. The Government is currently looking at this to see how they can provide more incentive for uptake.

Find out more about heat pumps and the Renewable Heat Incentive here.

Renewable Energy – Living a Greener Life

a greener life

Heating is one of the many ways you can live a greener, more environmentally friendly lifestyle. Heating a home can create a significant carbon footprint – especially so if your energy is sourced from fossil fuels. Around 20% of the UK’s carbon footprint is from domestic heating, and so heating alone represents a massive opportunity for the more environmentally friendly among us to life a greener, more sustainable life.

In this article we look at ways you can reduce your carbon footprint and heat your home in a more sustainable, environmentally friendly way. We also look at the role wood plays as a key element to sustainable heating in the home.

Possible Off Grid Heating Options. Although this is not practical for all, going off grid, especially if you live in an isolated area, can be a great way to lower your carbon footprint.

Below are a number of options for consideration:

Biomass Boilers: A biomass boiler is run by burning a range of things including logs, pellets and wood.

Biomass boilers are highly environmentally friendly and so great for reducing your carbon footprint. If they have the appropriate exemption certificates they can also be used in smoke control zones too, which adds to their practicality. There are three types of wood fueled heating systems available:

1. A boiler that provides heat and hot water for the entire home
2. A stand-alone stove that provides heat to specific rooms
3. A stove with a back-boiler that heats the room directly and also provides hot water, and may also run radiators in the rest of the house.

Heat Pumps: A heater pump works like a fridge in reverse! They extract energy from the ground and air and turn it into a form, which can be used to heat a home. It’s not totally carbon neutral, as you do need an electrical source to power the pump – although it certainly is considered environmentally friendly. You also need a large amount of land to bury the pipework too.

Solar Heating – Solar power can provide around 50% of hot water needs for a home, mainly thanks to the British weather. However, it can be topped up with another alternative energy source to create a truly sustainable, green heating option for a home.

The Growth of Renewable Energy:

 Renewable energy usage grew by 20% between 2014 and 2015 and is now over six and a half times the level it was at in 2000. This growth is huge, and is a clear sign that there is a move towards a cleaner, more environmentally friendly future.

Bioenergy vs Fossil Fuels – The Main Difference:

Fossil fuels and biomass are similar in so much as they are both made from organic matter. However, fossil fuels are not renewable and reserves are quickly dropping.  Also, the cost of fossil fuel extraction is very costly, compared to biomass, which, by comparison is very cheap. The cost of sourcing fuel is cut out totally if you are directly managing a renewable energy source, such as wood from a specially managed forest.

The wonderful thing about Biomass is that it takes carbon out of the atmosphere while it grows, and returns it, when it is burned. A truly sustainable source of heating – unlike fossil fuels.

Wood as a Heating Source:

In this article we have looked at a range of heating options, and there is one element, which emerges as a favorite, an element which is key in so many of the sustainable heating options, which of course is wood. However, many people still think of wood as a secondary energy source, ideal for a stove in your lounge, but not as a main energy source.

The fact is that domestic heating, as mentioned already, accounts for around 20% of the UK carbon emissions. It is here you can make the most significant impact towards a more environmentally friendly, sustainable way of heating your home.

Although wood is environmentally friendly, there are different types to consider. As environmentally friendly wood may be, not all are the same!

Below is a list of the best wood you can burn:


Ash
 – Ash is one of the very best woods for burning. It produces a steady flame and a great heat output. Ash can also be burnt when green, but like with most wood ash burns at it’s very best when it is dry. This wood tends to have a very low moisture content when live, which is the main reason why you can burn it when it is green.

Beech – Similar to ash, beech burns very well. However, it has a higher moisture content when live, and so needs to be dry before burning.

Hawthorn – This type of wood has a slow burn rate, and a good heat output.

Rowan – Similar to hawthorn, rowan, also known as Mountain Ash has a very good heat output that burns slowly.

Thorn – Thorn produces very little smoke, which makes it an ideal wood where excessive smoke could be a problem. It also is a great wood due to it having a slow burn rate, and it provides an impressive heat output too.

Oak – It makes great firewood. It burns slowly and makes a smaller flame. It burns best when seasoned for over two years.

Yew – Yew produces an intense heat output. Yew is poisonous however, so be careful.

Pine – The resin sap can cause deposits in a flue, which can increase the risk of a chimney fire. It does product a very good flame however.

Cherry – It is an easy wood to split, so this makes an ideal wood if you have to cut up your own logs, and you don’t fancy the additional work of cutting up tougher wood. On a wood burning stove cherry can spit and crackle a little.

In Conclusion:

The world is moving towards a more sustainable future, and we are all thinking more about the environment. However, there is still a long way to go, and there are still lots of ways we can all do out bit. Not everyone is going to want to, or be able to live a highly sustainable life. However, taking a few hints and tips will at least help point us in the right direction.

By Rob Morgan of Charlton & Jenrick – Best of British fires, fireplaces & stoves

UK Power Blades for Burbo Bank

Construction of Burbo Bank Windfarm

If you’ve ever wondered where those huge turbine blades come from, then MHI Vestas are one of the few companies based in the UK that make them. Their brand new power blades are now being transported to Belfast to form part of the 258 MW Burbo Bank expansion project that will provide power for thousands more homes.
MHI Vestas are, at the moment, the only UK factory producing such components for the wind turbine market and, surprisingly, it’s the first time locally produced ones have been made and delivered to a UK project. With a number of offshore wind farms either expanding or under construction around the coast, it’s good news for the industry in the UK to have access to a local supplier.

What is Burbo Bank?
This is an existing offshore wind power plant situated off the coast of Liverpool on the Burbo Banks. It currently delivers 90 MW of capacity and has been operating for the last nine years. When a licence to expand the site was agreed for Dong Energy, Vestas were contacted to produce 32 turbines. The eventual capacity of Burbo Bank extension will be about 210 MW and provide electricity for thousands of homes across the UK.
Burbo Bank is an ideal place for wind farm development because of its shallow water depth which makes construction easier and the good general wind speeds all year around. The power blades from Vestas have now been delivered to Belfast where the turbines will be constructed and then transported to the Burbo Bank site.
Dong Energy is one of the biggest players in the world when it comes to wind power and have been involved in a number of major constructions over the last 20 years. While they also undertake oil and gas explorations, their portfolio has adapted and is more and more moving towards a renewable mix with the focus on wind power, biomass and thermal power.

About MHI Vestas
The company was set up during the Spring of 2014 so is a pretty new to the renewable energy market. A Danish outfit with a commitment to developing green technologies, they are hoping to be at the forefront of wind turbine development over the next few decades.
Jens Tommerup, the company CEO, said recently:

“It’s a significant milestone for the industry to see the world’s largest blades in serial production arriving in Belfast ready for installation. This marks the first time locally manufactured major components for offshore wind turbines are being used in the UK.”

The extension to the Burbo Bank site was welcomed by new business and energy secretary Greg Clark who has had his hands full in recent times over Hinkley Point nuclear power station. While on shore wind power has suffered with a mix of governmental reluctance and protests over the development of turbines on farmland, off shore has generally thrived. Around the UK there are now some 6,857 wind turbines delivering a total capacity of 13.9 GW, over 5 GW of this for off shore. By the end of December 2015, wind power was providing 17% of the energy mix in the UK which bodes well for the future.
Find out more about wind power.

The Solar Cells Producing Hydrocarbon Fuel

Solar-Panels

Can solar panel cells create more than just electricity from the sun? Apparently, researchers at the University of Illinois think they’ve discovered just that. Their new solar cells have been developed to turn CO2 into hydrocarbon fuel. Not only could this help us create energy but could also solve the problem of rising CO2 and carbon monoxide levels that are damaging the environment and a leading cause of global warming.

If you think that sounds just like what plants do, then you are not far off the mark. This new photosynthetic style cell doesn’t turn sunlight and CO2 into sugar, however, but can be used to form what the developers are calling synthetic gas, an end product which can then be burned or converted into diesel and other types of hydrocarbon fuel.

Illinois are not the only ones investigating this interesting possibility and there are a couple of amazing things that are getting the scientific world quite excited about its development. There’s the idea that you can reduce the level of CO2 in the atmosphere by building certain types of solar cell. But there’s also the potential that if you can produce the gas and liquid fuel cheaply enough then it could make fossil fuels completely obsolete.

Scientists have already found ways of turning another greenhouse gas, carbon monoxide, into ethanol. Changing CO2 into fuel, however, has proved more difficult despite our best efforts. The researchers have used compound called tungsten diselenide to do this and the initial results are looking good. The process has proved to work but there is still one major hurdle to be overcome.
The question, as always, with new inventions and processes is how scalable they are. While they have succeeded in producing hydrocarbon fuel in the laboratory setting, the next step will be to do it on a bigger, industrial scale. The bad news is that this is exactly where many processes and inventions fall down. The costs begin to escalate and it suddenly become unviable compared to existing methods such as using fossil fuels.

It’s one of the things that has been a challenge for the development of batteries to store renewable energy. While small banks of batteries can work for the home or office, creating these on a much larger scale so that they can be used by power stations is still proving elusive.

If the solar cells developed at Illinois can be replicated on a large scale, we could in future see big plants with a different kind of solar farm at the centre, producing valuable fuel that is cheap and easily sourced. The good news is that large companies such as Shell are already looking at synthetic gas production and this new solar induced solution could be part of their development in the future.

Illinois are not the only ones trying to harness this technology either. The SOLAR-JET consortium based in Germany is making big headway in hopefully creating jet fuel from sunlight, something that could revolutionise the airline industry. As with Illinois, success has been seen on a laboratory scale but raising the stakes and producing industrial scale amounts of aviation fuel is still a long way off.

The Future of Energy: Pivotal Technology and Trends to Watch

Renewables Future

The world continues to struggle with the switch to renewable energy. Despite the plentiful natural resources handed to us through wind, water and sun, governments around the world are wrestling with ‘selling’ the idea to their citizens. Standing in the way of on-mass innovation adoption is, often, cold-hard cash.

To illuminate just how imposing a problem this is, consider this – despite unparalleled growth in the sector over the coming years, by 2040, all renewables will still only account for less than 10% of global power supply (Fortune). Sobering figures indeed. With this in mind here we look toward the most promising forms of technology, and a couple of key trends, as we continue to grapple with the burning of fossils.

Trends emerging on the horizon

New tariffs will be introduced to work more seamlessly with grid operating costs

Whilst the cost of rooftop solar continues to nose dive, we now face another problem: the cost of managing and upgrading grids to allow for two-way energy flows.

Hawaii has been home to an industry leading case study in this respect, with the introduction of a wide range of differing tariffs, including multiple options for “self-supply”. This transition from legacy NEM tariffs, to next gen, will certainly make for interesting viewing.

Smart tech will only become ever smarter, helping us to become greener

Smart technology may be one of the most exciting realms to be working in right now – and for renewable energy consumption, the potential is practically unmatched. Central to the successful merging of this area and energy consumption, are thermostats and heating/AC units that are becoming more intelligent; and as more of us continue to adopt smart home tech, the accompanied costs will continue to drop. A final benefit of smart tech is that consumers themselves become smarter and more informed as to how and where it is that their energy is being consumed.

Key tech promising to be pivotal to the renewable energies market

The home powering battery

Further to the issue of cost, is the issue of being able to rely upon renewable energy. For too long homes have faced the prospect of having to have a back-up should their renewable energy system fail. For this, there comes one innovative solution from the makers of the world’s most ground breaking electronic car.

We talk, of course, of Tesla, who have just announced development of their ‘Powerwall’ – which is effectively a battery for homes that allows them to tap into the power of solar or wind energy. Not only could it make energy consumption far cheaper, but it promises also to allow householders to feedback any surplus energy and actually make money, rather than burn it.

The traditional Central heating System (may) finally be thrown out

The Big Magic Thermodynamic Box – cutting-edge and forward-thinking in equal measure, this technology demonstrates that the future of energy storage does indeed promise much in the way of an energy storage revolution. However, whilst the technology is cutting-edge, the concept is a simple one – providing a renewable heating system for a property, and hot water, through the power of solar. Going into a little more detail, The Big Magic Thermodynamic Box features Thermodynamic Panels which are free from the need of direct sunlight for energy; instead, they harvest energy from the temperature of the atmosphere around them – making them an optimal choice all year round when compared to weather reliant solar panels.

A further defining (and rather HUGE) selling point of the Big Magic Thermodynamic Box is that the average home can have hot water all year through for, wait for it, the tiny price of approximately £80.

Finally, it seems that renewable energy can be harnessed in a way that makes it accessible for all – overcoming high costs with serious savings all year through and doing away with consumer rejection of seasonally hit and miss alternatives.

https://youtu.be/-hOfVw3-Ujw

It truly seems that we may be on the cusp of tapping into renewable energy on-mass – which is certainly something to be celebrated given how decades have passed by with only relatively limited success of renewable energy acceptance.

University of West of England Plans to Go Solar

UWE Solar Panels

With all the doom and gloom about the state of the solar industry in the UK in recent times, it comes as a pleasant surprise to learn that the University of West of England is going ahead with their plans to power their facilities through solar.

According to the university:

“We are committed to sustainability and energy efficiency, and this project is part of a wider plan to invest in projects that will help the university achieve our carbon reduction goals. As a large organisation we want to set an example for others to undertake similar projects.”

The university in Bristol is looking to quadruple its capacity over the next few years and, when installed, the solar array on the Frenchay Campus will be the biggest by a university in the UK. It will comprise 1,700 panels and will deliver a capacity 400 MW that can be used to power the campus.

While many organisations are rueing the loss of valuable subsidies that produce a good return of investment for smaller installations, the new solar model that seems to be coming out is for large organisations with enough space to power their needs and reduce their fuel costs by putting in large arrays.

The UWE installation is expected to cost in the region of £650,000 but will produce cost savings of around £50,000 a year, delivering a return on investment in about 12 years. Not only that, it should enable the university campus to greatly reduce their carbon footprint.

Of course, you need to have enough space to cope with such and installation. The 1,700 modules are being fitted over a 10,000 m² area on a building that now houses the university’s enterprise zone and a robotics lab. The panels will be able to provide half the energy these two centres need to operate.

It’s not the only way that the Frenchay Campus is going green. They are also embracing combined heat and power (CHP) systems on site which should decrease their carbon footprint even more. This is being combined with underground heating to create a district heating solution similar to those found in countries like Norway, where heat from pipes and other sources are diverted to reduce costs and environmental impact.

It’s good news for an industry like solar that has suffered in the past year or so. In January this year, subsidies were slashed for solar and wind and many businesses felt an immediate impact. The change in focus on subsidies has cost thousands of jobs in recent times but that doesn’t mean the solar industry is being driven into the ground. Yes, times are a little harder now but, with new models such as the one being demonstrated by UWE, the future could begin to look a lot brighter than many first thought.

According to the Guardian recently:

“Will solar survive in the UK? Well, storage technology is rapidly advancing and costs are falling. With the grid a mess, solar with storage will enable lots of warehouses and factories to be provided with clean power where and when they need it.”

There’s no doubt that solar is going to play a big part in our energy mix for the future and perhaps the doom mongers who prophesised its demise at the beginning of the year were a bit too quick off the mark. Projects like the one at the University of West of England show the industry is quite robust and moving forward despite the recent problems.

Sea Kite Turbines to Create Energy off Anglesey

Sea-Kite

While many of us have been muttering about the long term effects of Brexit and whether the UK is about to turn its back on renewable energy and go full-blown nuclear, a Swedish firm might be about to bring brand new kite energy to the coast of Wales. At the tip of Anglesey lies the port of Holyhead and Minesto have just put in their application for a licence that would see the installation of a tidal energy system, the first of its kind in the world.

At the cost of £25 million and part funded by the EU, the project will place underwater energy kites off the coast that together would produce 10 MW when fully operational, enough to power some 8,000 homes. Testing of the system has already taken place successfully off the coast of Ireland but Holyhead has been chosen for the development of the first full scale plant. The initial installation at Holyhead Deep, in 100 metres of water will initially produce 0.5 MW before kites are added that push the production up to 10 MW.
Initial tests at Strangford Lough on the coast of Ireland enabled Minesto to implement a scaled down site using a system of simulation tools and subsystem testing. These have gone well and, assuming the licence is granted, the main project will be undertaken off the coast of Holyhead sometime next year.

How the Kites Work

The deep water kites work much the same way as the ones we see flying in the air in parks and on beaches. Currents in the water around Holyhead will move the kites, allowing them to create energy which is then relayed to the mainland where it can be fed into the National Grid. The start of the installation is planned for 2017 and Holyhead has been chosen because it provides the low flow tidal velocities that the help the systems operate at an optimum.
The company has forged strong links since it started investing in their new technology with nearby Bangor University and the future installation should provide jobs in the area. The Holyhead Deep site was also chosen from a long list because it is situated far away from normal shipping lanes and wasn’t in the way of recreational sea users off the coast. Success for the plant could see more installations around the UK coast as we finally get to grips with the power and potential of the tides.

Is it Time for a Tidal Power Revolution in the UK?

Tidal Energy Turbine

As an island with a large amount of coastline, the UK has great potential for taking advantage of developments in tidal technology. With the stalled construction of the Swansea Tidal Lagoon and Government focus ever more drifting towards nuclear and fracking, we could be missing a trick by not investing more in this burgeoning technology.

According to Renewable Energy News:

“The potential energy that could be harvested from tidal movements on a global scale is enormous. It is estimated that around 1 terawatt of exploitable power is stored in the world’s oceans. This would be enough to power 10 billion 100-watt lightbulbs at once.”

Prior to the Government’s move to pull away from renewables following their May 2015 election success, everything was looking pretty rosy in the tidal energy world. The Swansea Lagoon was on track and there was even talk of other  projects including one at Colwyn Bay in North Wales.

Uncertainty over tariffs and the a luke warm commitment to renewables has led to the first major tidal project essentially being kicked into the long grass. Swedish firm Minesto have applied for a licence to install tidal kites off Anglesey that could produce up to 10 MW of power and this remains a good sign that there is a future for tidal power. Many scientists have said that this form of energy has all the hallmarks of an efficient and reliable technology that could benefit the UK in the future.

  • A mix of barrages in estuaries and using tidal streams could provide as much as 20% of the nation’s electricity supply.
  • Because tidal is more predictable than wind, it presents a more reliable opportunity for energy production.

All this looks good on paper. The problem is that the resources and finances funnelled into finding a solution for harnessing the energy of waves has been much lower compared to wind and solar. Plans for a barrage scheme in the River Severn was initially rejected when the coalition government was in charge because of the cost. While the Government are open to review it, there is no sign of them doing so soon.

Large projects such as the ones Severn and Swansea might get the renewable pulse racing but many scientists believe that we should be starting on a smaller scale and then building up rather than going for big projects. That will give the time for the technology to bed in and for governments to come more favourable in their approach. According Dr Nicholas Yates at Liverpool University:

“I think it’s unfortunate that attention for tidal range has tended to focus on the Severn, it’s the wrong place to start, it’s too big. Start small, it’s what the Danes did with wind – start small, learn quick and build up.”

That might be good advice to follow if we are going to create a tidal power revolution in the UK. There are, of course, major challenges for developing the technology, not least building in difficult areas. Small projects like the Minesto tidal kites could be the start the UK is looking for and, if successful, could see similar projects around the UK coast.

There’s no doubt that the concept of tidal power is an attractive one. Perhaps it’s time we moved away from investment in areas like nuclear and fracking and concentrated our efforts on this new technology that could power us well into the next century.

PV Plus Unit – A Potential 25% Increase in PV Generation

PV Plus PV+

Do you want to generate up to 25% more electricity from your solar panel system?

The new PV PLUS from The Renewable Energy Hub can help solar panel system owners achieve a much better return on investment. The PV Plus unit simply replaces the isolator switch for your inverter.

  • Free energy direct from the Sun
  • Solar PV is a Fit & Forget technology
  • Works with any PV system, any manufacturer
  • Simple to fit or retrofit
  • Just replace the inverter A.C Isolator with the SOLAR PV PLUS
  • Low cost and high carbon benefit
  • Available for inverters from 2KW up to 50KW single or 3-phase supply

If your incoming mains voltage is below 243 volts do not buy this unit.

How does the PV Plus help?

PV Plus Unit
PV Plus Unit

The PV Plus works by monitoring the incoming supply voltage to your home or business, it then prevents your inverter from shutting down due to overvoltage, this occurs when the mains electricity voltage peaks too high. When this happens your inverter shuts down, doing so stops your PV system form generating free electricity. An added bonus of the PV Plus is that it takes the stress from your inverter, potentially prolonging its lifespan.

The Tests!

The readings in GREEN are PRIOR to the Solar PV Plus being installed. All readings are from a 3KW inverter by the same manufacturer. October 2015 is only until the 8th when the data was compiled for this graph.

The PV Plus is designed for all DC applications for solar panels systems.

PV Plus month on month generation
PV Plus month on month generation

When your solar panel system is generating at full capacity, your inverter could be pushed into over-voltage mode and not generating at all!

This loss in generation will be costing you money.

PV Plus Graph 2
3kW inverter showing loss in a day
PV Plus Graph 3
Same day inverter output constantly above 250v

The PV Plus is NOT a Voltage Optimiser – G83 Compliance

Points to note relating to Voltage Optimising equipment – G59/3 

ENA Engineering Recommendation G59 Issue 3 Amendment 1 2014

7.7 Voltage Management Units in Customer’s premises

7.7.1 Voltage Management Units are becoming more popular and use various methods, in most cases, to reduce the voltage supplied from the DNO’s System before it is used by the Customer. In some cases where the DNOs System voltage is low they may increase the voltage supplied to the Customer. Some technologies are only designed to reduce voltage and can not increase the voltage.

7.7.2 The use of such equipment has the advantage to the Customer of running appliances at a lower voltage and in some cases this can reduce the energy consumption of the appliance. Some appliances when running at a lower voltage will result in higher current consumption as the device needs to take the same amount of energy from the System to carry out its task.

7.7.3 If a Voltage Management Unit is installed between the Entry Point and the Generating Unit in a Customers Installation, it may result in the voltage at the Customer side of the Voltage Management Unit remaining within the limits of the protection settings defined in section 10.5.7.1 while the voltage at the Entry Point side of the unit might be outside the limits of the protection settings. This would negate the effect of the protection settings. Therefore this connection arrangement is not acceptable and all Generating Units connected to DNO LV Systems under this Engineering Recommendation must be made on the Entry Point side of any Voltage Management Unit installed in a Customers Installation.

7.7.4 Customers should note that the overvoltage setting defined in section 10.5.7.1 is 4% above the maximum voltage allowed for the voltage from the DNO System under the ESQCR and that provided their Installer has designed their installation correctly there should be very little nuisance tripping of the Generating Unit. Frequent nuisance tripping of a Generating Unit may be due to a fault in the Customers Installation or the operation of the DNO’s System at too high a voltage. Customers should satisfy themselves that their installation has been designed correctly and all Generating Units are operating correctly before contacting the DNO if nuisance tripping continues. Under no circumstances should they resort to the use of Voltage Management Units installed between the Entry Point and the Generating Unit.

You can BUY the PV Plus unit FULLY INSTALLED in our Marketplace.