Lier, 11 September 2018 – In the presence of the Flemish Minister of Energy, Bart Tommelein, ADR Technics, a wholesale business specialized in energy concepts, today introduced a unique testing platform for renewable energy. Unique is the combination of different PVT solar panels, generating both heat and electricity, different forms of storage and continuous monitoring in realistic conditions. By comparing different PVT set-ups and continuously measure them, it becomes possible to distinguish the ideal performance pattern for different profiles thereby enabling to give better advice and develop tailor-made installations for different user profiles.
Flemish Minister of Energy, Bart Tommelein: “Thanks to this testing platform, the knowledge on solar panels and storage opportunities will only continue to grow. Similarly, the detailed data-analysis of the weather station will help to optimize the performance of PV installations. Companies, installers and scientists uniting their expertise will only make our production of renewable energy cheaper and more efficient in the future.”
Thanks to additional funding from VITO’s SME support programme, ADR Technics was able to rely on the extensive expertise of EnergyVille/VITO on heating/cooling, electrical storage and energy management. The experts were responsible for the design of the test set-up, selecting the adequate equipment/components, defining the test protocols and processing and analyzing all measured data.
Tailor-made solar energy
PVT Solar Panels have several advantages: jointly producing heat and electricity not only reduces CO2 emissions, it can also be substantially cheaper than traditional solar panels combined with solar boilers. Koen Allaerts, Energy Expert at EnergyVille/VITO: “The test set-up at ADR Technics goes beyond these traditional advantages, placing various panels in different formations in realistic conditions. By means of continuous monitoring it can be determined which set-up provides the highest energy yield for specific profiles.”
Combined with storage
But the innovativeness doesn’t stop there. Electrical storage was also included in the test set-up. Installing batteries in a home or a building is not a widely applied practice yet in Belgium. Therefore ADR consulted EnergyVille/VITO’s knowledge and expertise in battery technology. Drawing up a wish list of what storage should mean for a client was the starting point followed by a structural design of the PV installation and the battery which was based on the measured data of the client, taking into account the specific characteristics of the batteries (such as the degradation of the battery capacity and the correlation between capacity and current strength). Based on this input a structural design was made for two batteries and it was looked into how an in-home installation needs to be adjusted.
Grietus Mulder, Battery Expert at EnergyVille/VITO: “By coupling batteries and PVT solar panels in various ways, the most relevant profiles are established. Based on this data, the quality of the batteries, the efficiency and the optimal use of the battery can be measured and tested. This way a more thorough advice can be given to customers and their specific energy needs can be better addressed by the installer trained by ADR Technics.”
EnergyVille/VITO continues to support ADR Technics with the development of an application that performs similar analyses and provides even better advice to their customers.
Making sustainable innovation available for SME’s
Bruno Reyntjens, Commercial Director at VITO: “The focal point of the Belgian economy lies within SME’s. Entrepreneurs want to innovate, want to produce more sustainably, want to guarantee employment on the long run. VITO receives a specific budget from the Flemish Government to provide structural support to SME’s for sustainable innovations in the domains VITO has knowledge and technologies in. This way VITO continues to play an important role in making our economy and society more sustainable.”
The SME-team brings entrepreneurs into contact with the required VITO experts, supports them with funding opportunities and functions as a unique point of contact for other aspects. The VITO experts work towards specific innovative solutions tailor-made for each SME. Additionally, with the financial support of the Flemish Government it becomes possible to make this research affordable for each SME. This all because, thanks to the support, the SME receives a substantial financial compensation (66%) for the costs of the VITO project.