Council installs device to divert excess power away from grid
Published by Max Salsbury for 24dash.com in Environment and also in Housing
A Scottish local authority has introduced a device into its social housing stock that diverts excess electricity from solar PV and wind turbines to hot water immersion, underfloor heating or storage heaters within a property, rather than exporting it straight back to the grid.
Stirling Council has invested more than £6 million over six years to bring solar PV to hundreds of its rural properties, many not on the gas network, and has now installed the immerSUN device to control the generated energy.
The device allows up to 100% of self-generated energy to be used within a property, saving owners having to buy back as much power from the grid in the evenings at the higher rate.
A realistic saving for a householder is £250 per year, meaning that, on average, the immerSUN can pay for itself in just a couple of years.
Gregor Wightman, the council's property and private sector housing manager, said: “We found that, while the display functions had plenty of personalised benefits for our tenants, on occasion the wrong button would get pressed by mistake. Often this led to our electricians being called out on jobs at properties up to an hour away in rural areas, simply to reset an immerSUN.
“Adding a pin code that allowed us to lock down certain functions from everyone but our trained electricians who install the units was a simple addition that removed the problem entirely, saving us money on call outs and helping to keep each immerSUN system working effectively. Tenants, meanwhile, can still customise each unit with tariff rates, boost settings, heating priorities and timings to suit their individual lifestyles.
“Once people realise how much money they can save they tend to embrace the idea, and when the summer comes we expect to be able to really showcase self-generation at its best and prove that the estimated average generation of 2.7Mwh of green electricity per property, each year, is achievable.”