Historic buildings could be protected from rising energy bills by solar panels
Source:University of Bath
Installing solar panels could help historic buildings beat the rising costs of energy, according to a new study.
Researchers from the Centre for Doctoral Training in New and Sustainable Photovoltaics — a consortium of seven universities led by the University of Bath that trains doctoral students in different aspects of solar energy technology — looked at the dimensions, tilt and orientation of the Abbey roof, along with historic weather data, and shading of the roof from spires, to model the best configuration for 164 photovoltaic (PV) panels and estimated the amount of electricity that could be generated in a normal year.
They found that the set up could produce around 45 Mega-Watt hours per year, which accounts for roughly 35% of the Abbey’s annual usage. The equivalent amount of carbon dioxide saved, versus buying the electricity from the National Grid, would be around 10 tonnes per year, significantly reducing the carbon footprint of the building.
A cost-benefit analysis showed that the system could pay for itself in 13 years and provide a profit of £139,000 over a lifespan of 25 years. It would also future-proof the Abbey from rising costs of energy bills. The findings show that despite a large initial outlay, the system would be financially feasible for the historic grade I listed building.
They have published their findings in the journal Energy Science & Engineering.