A product that is starting to come to widespread attention is the thermodynamic panel. So what is it, how does is work and what are the potential pitfalls?
First of all, what is it? A thermodynamic panel, although it resembles a solar thermal panel is actually much closer to a heat pump. This is because, unlike a solar thermal system, the panels are the heat collectors of a closed refrigerant system. The major practical difference between a standard heat pump and a thermodynamic panel is that the heat pump is usually used for heating and hot water whereas the panel is usually just used for hot water.
Thermodynamic panels are very efficient and do operate even in very cold conditions. The panel can be placed on a wall or a roof but unlike solar pv and solar thermal can work very effectively even on north facing roofs (although south facing is best).
In terms of potential pitfalls, the biggest is getting the right installer. To be able to install these systems, the installer must be experienced in both roofing and plumbing, with a bit of electrical training thrown in. An unusual mix! One thing to look out for is ex-solar pv companies. A lot of them are circling around this product because they think it’s a fairly straight forward retro-fit. Like with most of these things though, its only straight forward if it is fitted properly into a system that is suitable for it.
One thing which will separate the wheat from the chaff is f-gas certification. Always make sure that the installer is an f-gas certified installer. This basically qualifies the installer to deal with refrigerants. If they don’t have this don’t touch them.
Of course, it goes without saying that BEC is fully f-gas certified, has roofing, plumbing and electrical know how and will do a great job for you with this product. If it is something that you are interested in then get in touch!