Details of our Solar Hydronic Heating Test Facility

The solar hydronic test facility is located at the HQ of The Green Power Company in Mordialloc, Victoria. The heat pump is manufactured by Tivok Energy Saving Solutions, and the model is T-HP60AB.

The Green Power Company Test Facility
The Green Power Company Test Facility

The heat pump is connected to the 100L thermal buffer tank made of stainless steel (SH-100), produced by SmartHeat.

On the roof of the building there are two arrays of 8 photovoltaic panels, with the total peak power of 4.480kW. The panels are produced by Canadian Solar and their model is CS 6k280P.

The Solar PV system is coupled to a Fronius Primo 6kW inverter, and Victron Multiplus 5kW inverter charger.

A BYD Lithium Battery 5.0 KWH, 51.2V, IP55 battery system provides backup energy, and is monitored by a Victron Color Control GX monitoring system.

A solar evacuated tube array providing boosting to the Smartheat 100L buffer tank, and is monitored by our custom made Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition system.

The data was gathered based on several smart control devices and platforms:

  1. NEST Learning Thermostat (shown in the Figure 12 below) – used to set the desired temperature in the office,
  2. SolarWeb platform – used to download the daily data of PV system electricity production,
  3. Fluke 1730 Energy Logger – used to log the electricity consumed by the whole HP system (including the small pumps pumping the water from and to the water tank),
  4. Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition (SCADA) – used to log the temperatures of:
    • inlet and outlet pipes of underfloor heating,
    • two different floor surfaces in the office
    • outside temperature outside humidity
The Green Power Company Test Facility

The data from Fluke 1730 Energy Logger and SCADA database was obtained with 1min stamp in order to monitor the work of the heat pump accurately. SolarWeb utilized to monitor the solar PV electricity generation.

SCADA is a system, which allows a site operator to control and monitor various processes. It consists of computers, controllers, networks and interfaces, which manage the control of automated processes and enable for analysis of those systems through data collection.

In current investigation the system is a microcontroller based SCADA system, which uses temperature and humidity sensors to monitor a prototype of a substation. The control unit of the SCADA system is a computer with a Graphical User Interface, used to control and monitor the substation and it is connected to SCADA system’s database to provide the data. We are able to test the current status of each load connected to the substation.

When it comes to the underfloor heating system, there are two different types of flooring. One of the types is a 12mm thick timber laminate floor, produced by Laminae brand. The flooring has been floated straight on the hydronic panels. The second type is based on a 6mm cement tile and approximately 10mm of tile adhesive. There is a layer of 6mm cement sheeting between the tiles and the hydronic panels.

The Green Power Company Test Facility
The Green Power Company Test Facility

There are three hydronic circuits, each approximately 80 linear metres of piping with 16mm outer diameter. The pipes are produced by the company REHAU. The circuits are installed from the front to rear, therefore one circuit is for the timber floor areas and the tiled flooring is made up of the remaining two circuits.

The ceiling of the office is a 150mm concrete slab. When it comes to the walls, one wall is a brick wall and the wall between the office and warehouse is a plastered stud wall. The plaster is approximately 12mm thick. All glass at the front of the test site and a plaster wall to the rear.

The Green Power Company Test Facility

There are 6 valves used for the underfloor heating system. They are opened and closed manually, thus they are set for the certain water flow. Nevertheless, there is a controller on the wall, which turns the small water pump from the tank to the underfloor heating on, when the temperature drops below the value set up on NEST thermostat.