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Killick House Communal Solar Water Heating

Killick House, Sutton: The UK’s Largest Domestic Vacuum Tube Solar Thermal Installation

solar heating schematic

On Friday 2nd September 2005, at Killick House in Sutton, the largest domestic Vacuum Tube Solar Thermal Water Heating installation in the UK was officially handed over to the Council.

The project was part of an EU programme to bring the economic and environmental benefits of renewable energy to socially deprived areas. The aim was to reduce energy costs for lower income households and encourage the use of renewable energy.

Killick House is a council-tenanted block of 55 apartments at Collingwood Estate, Crown Road, Sutton.

Tenants often pay higher rates for hot water, as residences tend to use expensive pre-pay meters. The Solar Thermal installation will provide about 160,000 kilowatt hours of energy (gas consumption equivalent) per annum, providing about half of the hot water needs of the apartment complex.

John Sinclair, the Regulatory/Energy Manager at Sutton Council commented

"We are very proud to have this landmark solar installation in our block of flats.

We estimate that the system will save the residents £3,000 per annum at current rates, and keep 36 tonnes of carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere each year."

Plumbase is a nationwide supplier of quality plumbing and heating materials. SolarUK is Britain's leading solar thermal manufacturer.

Together they have designed and provided the largest copper cylinders to be used in a solar heating system in Britain. The two giant hot water cylinders are each 1.9 meters high and 1.1 meters in diameter, and hold a total of 3,000 litres of water.

Large scale solar water heating

They are heated by the Solar Collectors to provide hot water for 53 flats. Normally four cylinders would be required, but Plumbase were able to reduce this to two, improving system efficiency and lowering costs.

Mark Taylor, manager at Plumbase Crowborough, commented “It’s been very exciting to be involved in what is a first for the plumbing and solar heating industries, and indeed for renewable energy use in the UK.”

Solar UK, the consumer division of Magpie Technologies Ltd. designed and manufactured the Solar Thermal System, comprised of Six Ten Panel Lazer2 Active Tracking Collectors.

They also managed the installation, drawing on the specialist expertise of Plumbase to provide the giant cylinders.

Geoff Fox, of Solar UK, said: “We’re proud to be responsible for such a large-scale, high-profile solar installation, and to be able to unite our technical expertise in this area with that of an experienced partner like Plumbase.”

Killick House solar panels

Useful Links:

Download pdf of Killick House solar thermal project

UK’s largest domestic solar installation (NewBuilder, Green Building Press)

Killick House on Google Earth showing Solar Water Heating. See roof area at centre of image.

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