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UK startup aims to revolutionise solar thermal power

August 06, 2012 // Nick Flaherty

UK startup aims to revolutionise solar thermal power

A startup in the southwest of the UK is starting trials of a controller that could make heating of hot water via solar power more efficient and cost effective.

Metasol, based in Paignton, Devon, has developed a controller that instead of using a fixed temperature difference between collector and cylinder for the circulation pump to be switched on or off, it will adapt to the amount of energy falling on the panel. This will be more effective, particularly during changeable weather, says Roger Green, who heads electronic and software design specialists Torbay Technology and is spinning off the new company.
“I’ve been developing the product for the last 18 months and we’re now at the prototype stage. I’ve designed the electronics, layout, software and mechanical construction of the controller,” said Green.
The ASC310 controller has been on under test for a couple of months on a real solar install and is proving to be working well, however a much more controlled testing, working with the South Devon’s Energy Centre begins shortly.
“We’re working with South Devon College’s Energy Centre and hope to start trials to see how it performs relative to conventional controllers,” he added.
“There are no other companies producing controllers that work like this. There are a few large manufacturers which dominate the marketplace, but they all use the same ‘temperature difference’ method for controlling the circulation pump.”
Two identical panels will be used in the trials, one fitted with a conventional controller and one with the new ASC310 controller.
The ASC310 controller should available in the autumn to installers, wholesalers and distributors.

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