Testing, monitoring & data analysis

Testing of renewable and low carbon technologiesTesting of renewable and low carbon technologies

Narec Distributed Energy have the technical knowledge, experience and facilities to carry out a wide range of testing and R&D for renewable energy and low carbon and energy efficiency technologies.

We can take prototypes and existing renewable and low carbon systems, and test them in a variety of situations. We can develop new technologies, develop new testing methodologies, and show the effects of integrating various technologies together.

Testing of systems can either occur in-situ, monitoring installed technologies, or using our laboratory facilities.

Lab Based Testing and Development

Narec DE operate two testing laboratories in Blyth. These are used for the testing of a range of technologies, including solar thermal, thermodynamic panels, combi boilers, domestic batteries and energy efficiency technologies.

Testing of heating technologies can simulate domestic hot water, space heating, or both.

Domestic Hot water: Testing usually uses tapping cycles under EN13203/EN1614 to provide a consistent replicable water draw off pattern representative for a typical domestic property, in line with existing standards

Space Heating: Narec DE have built various rigs to represent domestic space heating systems of various eras, to test technologies for both retrofit and new build properties.

In terms of electrical testing, NDE can monitor domestic batteries, either connected to the grid for charge/discharge, or connected to a property with photovoltaics and an air source heat pump. Monitoring includes power, voltage and current.

In situ monitoring

Narec DE have worked for on various commercial, local government and central government projects for the monitoring of low carbon energy systems. Monitoring has included heat metering of air/ground source heat pumps in the north of England, temperature monitoring of social housing before and after improvements, detailed metering of boiler systems, monitoring of Narec DE’s own photovoltaic system. In addition, Narec DE recently worked with the UK Department of Energy and Climate Change and industry to create the UK’s first accredited training course for heat meter installation.


Narec Distributed Energy use a range of technical software packages for the testing and R&D of renewable energy systems.

Modelling: Narec DE can create computer models for various systems. These models include electrical, mechanical, thermal and Life Cycle Assessment. Modelling is undertaken with Matlab/Simulink (electrical, thermal, mechanical), IES <VE> (thermal), GaBi (LCA) or with bespoke software written by Narec DE. Narec DE also uses industry standard modelling software for the simulation of renewable systems, such as PVSyst, which Narec DE use to design MW scale solar farms.

Data Anaylsis: Narec DE provides detailed statistical analysis of energy related data. This has ranged from temperatures of domestic homes, irradiance for photovoltaics installed on hypothetical electric cargo ships, up to mass data analysis projects on destructive testing of renewable energy systems. For small data projects Narec DE uses excel, gnuplot and Octave. Whereas for Big Data Narec DE creates mass data analyses tools in DIAdem, and bespoke tools using FORTRAN 2008.

Example Projects

  • First public independent test of a thermodynamic panel system
  • Testing of gas boiler efficiency technologies (both domestic hot water and space heating systems)
  • Testing of integration of solar thermal systems and condensing gas boilers working in parallel
  • Heat metering air source and ground source heat pumps installed in properties in the North of England
  • Creation of a new methodology for the testing of air source heat pumps
  • Integration of multiple microgeneration technologies in a simulated building
  • Programming simulations of renewable generators into a virtual power supply
  • Data analysis of destructive testing of renewable energy systems
  • Monitoring of a domestic battery system

High Voltage and Offshore Testing

Narec DE originated as part of Narec. Whilst Narec DE became an independent commercial company, Narec itself has now been merged into the UK Government’s Offshore Renewable Energy Catapult, and offers the high voltage electrical testing and offshore renewable device testing which Narec previously did. Please follow the links for more information on the Catapult.