Households-as-power-stations could reduce energy consumption by 60% across UK


In addition to reducing carbon emissions, turning homes into power stations could also bring substantial economic benefits. A new study, examining BIPV deployment across the U.K., finds that energy consumption could be cut by more than 60%, saving the average household over £600 a year.

This concept has already been proven and is operating at a classroom at the Swansea University Bay campus, which is already energy positive. The BIPV construction, which combines an integrated solar roof and battery storage with solar heat collection on south-facing walls, is part of the £7 million solar project SUNRISE, announced earlier this week, which aims to build five fully self-sufficient solar-powered buildings in remote Indian villages.

Authored by independent energy consultant Andris Bankovskis, the report looks at applying this concept to homes and examines the economic and energy impacts that such homes could have in the U.K.

The energy consumption for buildings as power stations is based on parameters for the Active Homes Neath Project 16 homes developed by Swansea University's SPECIFIC Innovation & Knowledge Centre and built by Pobl Group, which is set to become the first such social housing in the UK, after it was granted a planning permission earlier this week.

Featuring solar roofs, shared battery storage and the potential for charging points for electric vehicles, as well as solar heat collectors and technology to capture and recycle waste heat within the building, Active Homes Neath will welcome its residents in spring 2019. Moreover, this housing association in Wales has been designed under a standard design-and-build contract, which means it can be replicated at scale.

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In addition to consumer benefits, the analysis also shows that building one million homes like this would have huge impact on the national level, such as reducing peak generating capacity by 3 GW, equivalent to a large central power station; reducing carbon dioxide emissions by nearly 80 million tons over 40 years; and potential benefits to the UK economy through investment in a new industry.

“The scale of the potential impacts is compelling, and demands that we make considered decisions about how we meet housing needs sustainably.

It suggests that if we are prepared to take some bold decisions about the way energy is supplied and used in our homes, the rewards could be significant and lasting. Ofgem and Government have shown welcome leadership recently by consulting on smart energy networks, and it is imperative to move forward with developing these as quickly as possible,” said Bankovskis.

The report comes on the heels of Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs department’s decisions to place just a 5% VAT rate on batteries that are sold with new solar PV systems following close discussions with the Solar Trade Association (STA).

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