Thermodynamic panels are similar in appearance to solar thermal systems, however they can be thought of as an air source heat pump (without the fan) which uses a flat plate collector to take energy from the air, and supplements this with energy from solar gain. This process involves using electricity for the compressors and pumps. An important key question, as with other types of heat pumps, is how does the energy input compare with the energy yield from the air and sun?
Narec Distributed Energy are carrying out the first independent performance tests of these systems in the UK. One of these is from our “Solar Thermodynamic Test Challenge” issued in April 2013, the results from which will be available to view on our Thermodynamic Panel Test page. Independent testing is vital to understand how these systems work in the UK climate, and what advantages and disadvantages they have compared with other heating sources.