Western Solar Ltd, the Welsh company behind the innovative TY Solar design believes that the income from solar power could subsidise affordable homes. The falling cost and increasing efficiency of photo voltaic (PV) panels have begun to make this a reality.
This week the company has begun to erect the first of its solar powered homes at the first solar hamlet in Wales, in Glanrhyd , Pembrokeshire. The houses are based on its TY Solar prototype which maximizes the use of solar energy by virtue of its monopitch roof design and south facing orientation.
Dr Glen Peters, CEO of Western Solar said, “Our six homes will produce nearly 50Kwhr over the year with current technology. In a year, that could double, given current developments in PV. It means that the income from power generation will provide up to 20 % of the income from affordable rents.’
The homes are made of timber sourced locally and made at the company’s eco factory in Pembrokeshire. With eleven inches of insulation and passive southerly facing windows they use 12% of the energy of a traditional home.
The company has taken advantage of the Welsh Government’s apprentice training scheme to recruit and train its workforce in the manufacture of all the modular components. The houses take approximately two days to erect on site saving considerably on construction time.
“We are getting to the point in the technology curve where solar farms could double up as affordable housing complexes and provide homes on precious acreage,” says Peters.