The UK Department of Energy and Climate Change awarded funding to a project aiming at designing and building a large-scale solar thermal plant combined with a heat pump to supply one of the country’s largest district heating systems.
The existing heat supply of the Cranbrook network is based on combined heat and power. The plan is to install around 2 000 m² ground-mounted solar thermal collectors beside the Cranbrook energy center as well as a heat pump and thermal storage tank. The aim is to improve the performance of district heating networks and to demonstrate how the solar district heating plant can replace or work alongside the existing combined heat and power plant to lower the heat costs and carbon emissions of the heat supply. The project will also analyze the possibility of using the electricity from the PV panels on the roof and from the CHP to operate the heat pump.
The project led by E.ON together with the technology providers SK Solar and Star Renewable Energy and the University of Exeter is already in an advanced planning stage and first installations are planned for the late summer 2015.