HomeSmart Grid T&DEnergy StorageWelsh 'homes as power stations' project gets green light

Welsh ‘homes as power stations’ project gets green light

A proposed ‘homes as power stations’ demonstration project in Wales has been approved.

The planned Active Homes Neath housing development (pictured, digital rendition) will include 16 new homes, including two- and three-bedroom houses and one-bedroom flats, on the site of a former care home in the town of Neath.

The houses are planned to feature a steel roof with building-integrated solar photovoltaic (BIPV) cells, battery energy storage with the capacity for community energy sharing and electric vehicle charging, and solar hot water systems. à‚ 

A successful rollout could mean extending the project to include another 1200 homes through new-builds and retrofits, with a projected investment of over à‚£500m ($650m).

The project is led by Neath-Port Talbot Council with social housing developer Pobl Group, and is supported by Swansea University innovation and knowledge centre Specific, which developed the technology.

Pobl aims to begin work on the demonstration project later this year or early next year.

Elfed Roberts, Pobl’s head of projects, said the pilot would “enable us for the first time to demonstrate the benefits that the latest technologies can bring to affordable housing developments, and to drastically reduce fuel poverty and carbon emissions.

“We are aiming to achieve homes that feel homely and pleasant to live in, but that also generate most of their energy needs from the roof and wall coverings, thus dramatically reducing the bills for our tenants.

“The latest solar power technologies will be seamlessly integrated into the external walls and roofs of the homes, along with the latest battery technologies for storing electricity.

“Ultimately Pobl wants this type of project to become the norm for both rented and owner-occupied housing.”

And Kevin Bygate, Specific’s CEO, said: “Not only will these houses be comfortable and affordable to run, but collectively they have the potential to reduce stress on the local electricity grid.

“Building thousands of houses like this removes the needs to build new power stations.”