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Academics power eco-home without using electricity from national grid

Academics at the University of Portsmouth have hailed the success of technology to power a three-bedroom house, without using any electricity from the national grid.

The Port-Eco House is a property in Portsmouth used for research into the energy efficiency and building performance of houses. The house was successfully powered using green technology for six months, from March to September last year.

Professor of Power Systems Engineering, Victor Becerra, said: “The house didn’t need to import from the grid a single kilowatt-hour of electricity during the spring and summer months of 2022, which means with such high energy prices at the moment, this translates into significant savings.”

The team behind the project claim that the reduction of carbon emissions has been significant, even after considering the carbon footprint associated with the solar panels, inverter, and batteries. Professor Becerra explained that the house would become carbon neutral after about five years and would produce net CO2 savings from then on.

Three Tesla Powerwall batteries were also fitted at the University’s £12m Future Technology Centre (FTC), a facility for engineering students and staff to explore today’s new and emerging technologies.

The four-storey building – already equipped with rooftop solar panels and photovoltaic windows – has been solely powered by batteries when fully charged after a sunny day, for up to four hours a day during the summer months.

Professor Becerra added: “As technology develops, batteries will become safer and cheaper. They used to be very expensive but they’re expected to become more affordable and people are already starting to install them in their homes as energy prices rise.”

The installation of solar photovoltaic panels, a smart Tesla Powerwall battery and energy monitoring systems was part of SOLARISE, a €4.18m European project to accelerate the use of solar energy and to work out sustainable energy solutions for buildings.