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In 2012, the company Sunwell decided to commercialise the solar well – a borehole storage technology that enables storage of summer heat in the ground to use for heating up the house through a heat pump. The solution is environmentally friendly and energy efficient, but it is also new which means that the potential is unknown and the investment costs are high.
Tests in three different Live Labs
Sunwell tested the solar well in three different living labs – at Green Tech Center in Vejle, in two private households in Insero Live Lab and in the Children- and Family House ‘Bakkevej’ in Hornsyld. During the tests, Insero helped Sunwell find suitable test locations and handled data collection and analysis as well as providing professional guidance for the configuration of the heat pump and borehole storage combination.
An intelligent control unit
Furthermore, Insero developed and installed an intelligent online control unit for the heat pump at one of the demonstration sites. This control makes it possible for the consumer to turn the heat pump on or off depending on the development of electricity prices, so the energy consumption can be moved away from the peak load periods while simultaneously reducing the electricity price and the CO2 emission. Data was collected continuously from the different demonstration sites, so Insero had the possibility of analysing the house owners’ heat consumption – a calculation parameter in the development of a commercialisation model.
Sunwell gained important insights
The living lab test provided Sunwell with vast knowledge about the efficiency of the solar well technology, identification of the right borehole configuration, and a measuring of the energy savings, which the sunwell could provide for the customers. At the same time, Sunwell gained knowledge about the value creation that the technology can offer to potential buyers.