Low carbon energy system offers ‘near’ off-grid living

A concept home in north Yorkshire, claimed to be a new breed of energy efficient house features roof mounted solar panels and solar thermal panels (PV-T) linked to an underground energy storage system, the house will generate 13,000+ kWh of electricity and heat a year: 5,000 kWh will be used by the homeowners with the remaining 8,000 kWh exported to the grid. The four bedroom house designed by Richard Hawkes Architecture and approved under National Planning Policy Framework 55.


The energy system has been designed in conjunction with solar energy firm, Minimise Generation. Anthony Morgan, Head of Minimise Generation, has been developing a commercially viable PV-T panel for the last decade. The initial panels were trialled at Crossway in Kent, also designed by Richard Hawkes Architecture, and featured on Grand Designs. The panels to be used in this building however are the fourth generation of PV-T and are now considered ready and fully scalable for commercial applications.

Unlike standard solar PV panels which simply convert the sun’s rays into electricity, PV-T panels also capture heat, increasing their efficiency by around 12% (dependent on conditions).


The house  features a combination of 64 solar PV and PV-T panels. These will generate 13,177 kWh of electricity which will be metered and generate an income through Feed-in-Tariffs. Electricity is used for domestic daytime consumption, with spare energy diverted to on-site storage for overnight electricity. Excess energy is used to heat domestic hot water.


In addition, the heat generated by the panels in summer will stored in the earth beneath the house, using the soil as a battery. This is drawn off during the winter to provide heating and hot water.


About PV-T: 

Photovoltaic thermal hybrid solar collectors, sometimes known as hybrid PV/T systems orPV-T, are systems that convert solar radiation into thermal and electrical energy. These systems combine a solar cell, which converts sunlight into electricity, with a solar thermal collector, which captures the remaining energy and removes waste heat from the PV module. The capture of both electricity and heat allow these devices to have higher exergy and thus be more overall energy-efficient than solar photovoltaic (PV) or solar thermal alone. A significant amount of research has gone into developing PVT technology since the 1970s.  Source: Wikipedia

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