The new Dimplex Free-E works with a homeowner’s solar PV installation to heat their hot water cylinder for free.
Currently homes that generate electricity through solar panels are able to benefit from the government’s Feed In Tariff Scheme (FITS), which pays between 11-13p per kWh generated. Additionally the scheme deems that 50 per cent of the electricity generated will be exported back to the grid, which means the householder gains an additional 4.8p per kWh for half of the electricity generated whether it is used by the householder or not.
Dimplex Free-E puts that excess energy to good use, using an intelligent energy management system to divert surplus energy generated by solar PV installation to the immersion heater in the domestic hot water tank.
Quick and easy to install, with no need for plumbing alterations, the Free-E system can be fitted retrospectively to homes with an existing solar PV installation, or as part of a package with a new PV installation – no matter what PV system is used. Initial field trials have shown that the Dimplex solution could pay for itself in three years – providing a huge opportunity for installers to deliver an added-value solution to existing customers.
Chris Stammers, marketing director at Dimplex, said: “Around 620,000 homes in the UK that already have solar PV panels on their roofs but less than 10 per cent of those are set up to be able to store unused solar energy.
“Obviously the majority of PV arrays generate maximum energy during the day, when light levels are at their peak. Therefore homeowners who tend to be out for the majority of the day, at work for example, are not able to reap the benefits of their solar PV panels by using the electricity they generate – and so their surplus energy is exported back to the National Grid.
“Dimplex Free-E is a brand new technology that many homeowners are unaware exists. The system is made up of an Energy Meter located at the incoming mains, which monitors the flow of electricity and transmits this information wirelessly to the Dimplex Free-E in the airing cupboard. If surplus energy is available, Free-E will divert this free energy to the immersion heater rather than allowing it to be exported back the national grid – meaning the homeowner’s hot water will be heated for free.
“As installation costs continue to fall, we have seen an increase in the number of people that are having solar panels put up on their roof and not realising there are additional benefits they could bring. This technology will provide contractors with ample work opportunities and help homeowners to reap greater rewards from their PV panels without having to do any work.”