Narec Distributed Energy is offering to test the performance of solar thermodynamic panels for free at its independent test centre in Northumberland.

The organisation wants to investigate the promising claims made by thermodynamic panel manufacturers because, at the moment, there has been no independent testing or verification of these systems in the UK.   

In November last year, Gemserv suspended the registration of solar thermodynamic panels from the MCS installation database for the following reasons:

  • The performance of the products being installed in the UK cannot be fully determined; this is mainly due to the fact that these solar systems are being installed using refrigerant but the 12975 testing and certification through Solar Keymark did not use refrigerant as the heat transfer medium.
  • Systems with a compression heat exchange unit are unable to meet the requirements for completing the SAP and performance estimation calculations required under MCS, for example hybrid type systems are not covered fully within the SAP methodology which is required to be completed under MCS.
  • It is not clear how compliance with Part G of the building regulations is fully met, due to the system’s packaged control strategy. Installers are required to meet all parts of the building regulations under MCS, and it is uncertain if installers are able to do this with the system’s packaged control strategy.
  • It needs to be determined if the classification of these systems within MCS are actually solar thermal systems or if they should be classified as heat pump systems.

Gemserv is awaiting development of the requirements for the installation of this product type by the MCS scheme, and said that it was already working with a number of manufacturers to “develop the requirements either by extension to the existing MIS 3001 or MIS 3005 or a brand new scheme document if appropriate”.

In an attempt to help shed some light on the technology and clarify the veracity of solar thermodynamic panel manufacturer's claims, Narec Distributed Energy is looking for a member of industry to provide a fully installed panel system at its test facility in Northumberland.

As an independent organisation that is part of the National Renewable Energy Centre group of companies, Narec Distributed Energy will be able to offer an impartial insight into the new technology’s actual performance.

Those interested in the offer should contact Narec here.