Solar Thermal Panels
To reduce our dependence on non-renewable energy sources and our carbon dioxide emissions, the new building relies upon three renewable energy sources to fulfil its energy requirements. These are all related to the power of the sun.
Ground Source Heat Pump takes the sun’s warmth which has built up in the soil.
Photovoltaic Cells convert daylight into energy.
Solar Thermal Panels use the heat of the sun to warm the domestic hot water.
Ground Source Heat Pump
The Ground source heat pump consists of 12 100m lengths of pipe buried in bore holes deep beneath the ground. A few metres beneath the surface of the ground, the temperature is uniformly cool (around 12oC) throughout the year. By repeatedly pumping a mixture of water and antifreeze through the pipes beneath the ground, heat is absorbed, compressed and transferred to the building via underfloor heating.
Photovoltaic cells convert daylight into electricity. At Oriel y Parc there are 3 banks of photovoltaic cells mounted on the roof of the gallery. Each module consists of a number of cells made from a semi-conducting material, usually silicon. When light shines on the cells it creates an electric field across the layers causing electricity to flow. The more intense the light, the greater the flow of electricity.
Photovoltaics only require daylight, and not sunlight, to function, which means that they still generate some power even on a cloudy day.
As well as the photovoltaics, solar thermal panels mounted on the roof generate hot water by harnessing the power of the sun. Radiation from the sun heats water in a panel on the roof which in turn supplies the heat as hot water.