An innovative project trialled in Bristol has been a success. SoLa Bristol used battery storage devices charged by rooftop solar PV Panels on homes and businesses across the city. The residents in the buildings benefitted from the project by storing the energy in the day and using it at night. They also profited by selling surplus energy back to the grid.
Partners of the SoLa Bristol project have celebrated its completion. The successful energy innovation trial helped 26 homes, 5 schools and an office block reap the rewards of more efficient renewable energy.
The £2.8 million SoLa Bristol project trialled battery storage devices, charged by rooftop solar PV panels in the Knowle West based council-owned homes and work buildings. Participants were able to store power generated by the solar panels during the day to then use the electricity when it was needed to power a DC lighting system. They also benefited from a ‘Smart Tariff’ deal, allowing them to earn money by exporting their stored energy at peak times onto the electricity grid, reducing their peak energy demand.
Bristol-based Western Power Distribution (WPD) partnered with Bristol City Council, Siemens, the University of Bath and Knowle West Media Centre to deliver the project, which came to an end in March 2016.
It was designed to address the technical constraints that WPD has experienced as the distribution network operator (DNO) in Bristol, where the uptake of solar panels has been high.
The project found that demand side response and customer variable tariffs can be very beneficial for both customers and DNOs but maintaining engagement is absolutely crucial to success. Equally, future projects must ensure that they tailor their approach to make the battery storage technology work for each customer – a ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach simply does not work.
On Tuesday night, Bristol Futures Director at Bristol City Council, Stephen Hilton, welcomed the project. He said: “Projects such as SoLa Bristol demonstrate that Bristol is continuing to lead the way towards a decarbonised, resilient, and community-led energy system following its year as European Green Capital.
Bristol City Council is committed to working with residents, such as those in social housing, who can benefit the most from innovative technologies and services. It has been invaluable to work with community organisations such as Knowle West Media Centre to make engagement with these innovations fun and meaningful for those involved.”
Roger Hey, Future Networks Manager for WPD, said: “We are really pleased with the results of this project and enormously grateful to our project partners and the Knowle West community for their time and efforts supporting SoLa Bristol.
“Tonight’s Innovation Reception has been a great opportunity to share our invaluable findings from the project with the rest of the energy industry. We are hopeful that others can now exploit the learnings to inform their own projects and move closer to a smarter energy system.”
Professor Furong Li from the University of Bath said: “The SoLa Bristol systems continue their life at the Smart Grid teaching and research Laboratories at the University of Bath, providing immediate benefits to students and researchers from over 50 countries.
This is the perfect platform for the University to continue with the successful path already established by the SoLa Bristol Project. New ways of managing, trading and supplying electricity with increasing supply from local communities will be investigated, ensuring communities can benefit from low energy bills, low carbon emissions and high returns from community energy.”
A Good Look At How Homes Will Become More Energy Efficient Soon
Everyone always talks about ways they can save energy at home, but the tactics are old school. They’re only tweaking the way they do things at the moment. Sealing holes in your home isn’t exactly the next scientific breakthrough we’ve been waiting for.
There is some good news because technology is progressing quickly. Some tactics might not be brand new, but they’re becoming more popular. Here are a few things you should expect to see in homes all around the country within a few years.
1. The Rise Of Smart Windows
When you look at a window right now it’s just a pane of glass. In the future they’ll be controlled by microprocessors and sensors. They’ll change depending on the specific weather conditions directly outside.
If the sun disappears the shade will automatically adjust to let in more light. The exact opposite will happen when it’s sunny. These energy efficient windows will save everyone a huge amount of money.
2. A Better Way To Cool Roofs
If you wanted to cool a roof down today you would coat it with a material full of specialized pigments. This would allow roofs to deflect the sun and they’d absorb less heat in the process too.
Soon we’ll see the same thing being done, but it will be four times more effective. Roofs will never get too hot again. Anyone with a large roof is going to see a sharp decrease in their energy bills.
3. Low-E Windows Taking Over
It’s a mystery why these aren’t already extremely popular, but things are starting to change. Read low-E window replacement reviews and you’ll see everyone loves them because they’re extremely effective.
They’ll keep heat outside in summer or inside in winter. People don’t even have to buy new windows to enjoy the technology. All they’ll need is a low-E film to place over their current ones.
4. Magnets Will Cool Fridges
Refrigerators haven’t changed much in a very long time. They’re still using a vapor compression process that wastes energy while harming the environment. It won’t be long until they’ll be cooled using magnets instead.
The magnetocaloric effect is going to revolutionize cold food storage. The fluid these fridges are going to use will be water-based, which means the environment can rest easy and energy bills will drop.
5. Improving Our Current LEDs
Everyone who spent a lot of money on energy must have been very happy when LEDs became mainstream. Incandescent light bulbs belong in museums today because the new tech cut costs by up to 85 percent.
That doesn’t mean someone isn’t always trying to improve on an already great invention. The amount of lumens LEDs produce per watt isn’t great, but we’ve already found a way to increase it by 25 percent.
Maybe Homes Will Look Different Too
Do you think we’ll come up with new styles of homes that will take off? Surely it’s not out of the question. Everything inside homes seems to be changing for the better with each passing year. It’s going to continue doing so thanks to amazing inventors.
ShutterStock – Stock photo ID: 613912244
IEMA Urge Government’s Industrial Strategy Skills Overhaul To Adopt A “Long View Approach”
IEMA, in response to the launch of the Government’s Industrial Strategy Green Paper, have welcomed the focus on technical skills and education to boost “competence and capability” of tomorrow’s workforce.
Policy experts at the world’s leading professional association of Environment and Sustainability professionals has today welcomed Prime Minister Teresa May’s confirmation that an overhaul of technical education and skills will form a central part of the Plan for Britain – but warns the strategy must be one for the long term.
Martin Baxter, Chief Policy Advisor at IEMA said this morning that the approach and predicted investment in building a stronger technical skills portfolio to boost the UK’s productivity and economic resilience is positive, and presents an opportunity to drive the UK’s skills profile and commitment to sustainability outside of the EU.
Commenting on the launch of the Government’s Industrial Strategy Green Paper, Baxter said today:
“Government must use the Industrial Strategy as an opportunity to accelerate the UK’s transition to a low-carbon, resource efficient economy – one that is flexible and agile and which gives a progressive outlook for the UK’s future outside the EU.
We welcome the focus on skills and education, as it is vital that tomorrow’s workforce has the competence and capability to innovate and compete globally in high-value manufacturing and leading technology.
There is a real opportunity with the Industrial Strategy, and forthcoming 25 year Environment Plan and Carbon Emissions Reduction Plan, to set long-term economic and environmental outcomes which set the conditions to unlock investment, enhance natural capital and provide employment and export opportunities for UK business.
We will ensure that the Environment and Sustainability profession makes a positive contribution in responding to the Green Paper.”