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Our SHED is home to a test-rig that analyses five commercially available and emerging PV and solar thermal technologies. The data provides an understanding of performance in a natural environment – such as cloud cover, insulation or precipitation – which enable us to choose the right technology for buildings of the future.

Five different types of technology are used in this experiment: three solar thermal and two solar electric (PV). Each technology is mounted in two orientations on the façade of the building to simulate wall or roof installation. The moving rigs can be tilted through a range of pitches to investigate the effect on generation.

Solar Thermal System

The study provides data to see how the building envelope can be best used to heat and power a building. The data is being compared to evaluate cost vs generation performance. The technologies used include:

  • Hyrax Solar Thermodynamic panels
  • Varisol DF400 solar thermal evacuated tubes
  • Thermo Solar TS400 evacuated flat plate collectors

The data allows a side-by-side comparison of the solar thermal technologies, including thermodynamic panels, for which there has been limited rigorous, independent testing.

Project partners: Pursey & Ball, Hyrax Solar Ltd, Kingspan, Thermosolar, Secon Solar Ltd

Solar PV System

The study analyses commercially available PV, with two identical Energy Storage Systems installed.

It is connected to a battery system so the combination effect of different PV technologies with one battery technology can be assessed. Different load profiles are also simulated for typical and non-typical house profiles (i.e. the home of a 9am-5pm worker vs. shift worker) to see how much residual energy can be diverted towards long-term, viable thermochemical heat storage.

Project partners: Panasonic, Solibro


The results from the solar thermal generation and solar electric energy generation can be compared to investigate the optimal use of space on a vertical façade for a given usage profile.

Commercial Impact:

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