Newform Energy Ltd
Newform Energy is a wholesale provider of affordable renewable energy products which specialise in hybrid solar technology.
Newform Energy was the first in the world to bring to market The Hybrid Solar solution; a single panel which combines both PV and solar thermal collectors along with a water/water heat pump. This British designed solution combines three renewable technologies into a single efficient and reliable system. The system can provide all the annual central heating and hot water requirements of well-insulated buildings and generate more than enough electricity to do so carbon-neutrally.
Newform Energy is a forward thinking renewable energy company which places major emphasis on research and development.
The Hybrid Solar Solution
The Hybrid Solar Solution combines PV, solar thermal collectors and a water/water heat pump in such away that the aggregate system outputs are far greater than those produced by the components individually.
How? PV has a linear drop-off in efficiency as the surface temperature of the panel rises. Given that PV panels are typically black and mounted in such a way as to get maximum exposure to the sun, this rise in panel temperature is inevitable. PV panels typically lose efficiency of up to 0.5% per degree rise in panel temperature. However the Hybrid Solar Solution combines both the PV and Thermal elements onto a single panel – a photovoltaic thermal (or PV-T) collector. This has two main advantages; firstly, by drawing heat away from the panel the electrical output is maintained at a higher level for a longer period, and secondly, with the PV and Thermal elements combined on a single panel less roof area is required, allowing for greater outputs on equivalent roof space.
The output of solar thermal is dependent on sunlight so for half the day and most of the winter a solar thermal collector operates very inefficiently and the heat collected is often at a much lower temperature than that required for use in a house. With the integration of the heat pump, the output of the thermal collector is no longer directly related to the intensity of the sun and therefore a constant output temperature can be achieved irrespective of solar input. This has two major advantages, heat can be collected from the panel at night as the surface of the panel will act as a thermal absorber rather than solar collector, and the temperature of water in the house can be set and achieved irrespective of levels of irradiance (sunshine).
The efficiency of a heat pump is normally shown as a COP (Coefficient of Performance). This is a simple calculation of electrical energy input versus thermal energy output. However, the COP of a heat pump changes across the seasons as the result of the seasonal drop in source temperature. In other words, as the input temperature of the source reduces (colder ambient ground or air conditions), and the difference between latent heat input and upgraded heat output rises, so the COP falls. Air-source heat pumps are most susceptible to this; when the ambient temperature drops to below freezing the COP will drop off dramatically. Ground source heat pumps are more stable and do not have such a wide spread of COP, due to the relative constancy of the energy source.
The Hybrid Solar Solution maximises the advantages of air-source (namely low cost) without the downside of extremely inefficient performance in freezing conditions. The Hybrid Solar Solution collects its heat from the PV-T panels, so even in winter, under direct sunlight, the panels will be providing an input temperature far greater than the ambient air temperature, and generally well above ground-source, particularly at the end of a harsh heating season when the ground may well have frozen. This means that the operating COP of the Hybrid Solution surpasses those of other domestic heat pump technologies.
The Hybrid Solar Solution uses a Volther PowerVolt Hybrid PV-T collector, which was the first UK MCS accredited PVT panel (with the exception of its sister product PowerTherm), providing the owner with revenue from both the Feed In Tariff and Renewable Heat Incentive systems for its respective electrical and thermal production.
The PowerVolt collector has been developed to maximise the electrical return of the panel, making it an enhanced PV collector, which also produces a reasonable amount of heat production in the summer, even without the heat pump.
The peak outputs of this panel are 190/630 watts electrical/thermal respectively.
When correctly installed the collector will produce more than 20% more electricity than conventional PV. When the heat pump is running the electrical output may increase by a further 25% under certain weather conditions.
This is a perfect solution for customers wishing to maximise the electrical energy returns from a given roof area and also benefit from year round heating and hot water. The Hybrid Solar Solution, with PowerVolt panels installed on a UK house with 28m2 of available south facing roof area, will produce the equivalent annual electrical output from 33m2 of conventional mono crystalline photovoltaics. The same area of PowerVolt collectors will offset approximately the same amount of thermal energy as 8m2 of conventional solar thermal collectors (without any contribution from the heat pump). Using separate PV plus solar thermal systems would therefore require 41m2 to generate the same electrical and thermal energy produced by 28m2 of PowerVolt thermal collectors.
In addition, with the size of solar installation referred to above, the heat pump can produce up to 12,000kWh of heat in winter months when the demand is highest.
Reference: Newform Energy Ltd (www.newformenergy.com Tel: 08458 622143)
Newform Energy are running a training day on 10th May in Newcastle if you would like further information about our product and become an approved installer. For more details please click on the link http://newformtraining.eventbrite.co.uk