Fluid Solar will bring renewable solar thermal energy and low impact living spaces to one third of the worlds population in thirty years.
Fluid Solar House is a custom-designed $8 million four-storey commercial office building, constructed with Fluid Solar technologies. These include a large thermal battery under the car park, renewable energy-powered heating, cooling and ventilation systems and innovative solar thermal collectors. Its unique blend of energy collection, storage and utilisation make it the first of its kind in the world.
Just 1km from the closing GM Holden car plant at Elizabeth, 27km north of Adelaide, Fluid Solar House has disconnected from SA’s embattled electricity grid due to its ability to generate 250 kilowatt peak (kWp) of thermal and PV electric power from the building’s use of patented concentrating Fluid Solar Thermal collectors and conventional photovoltaic (PV) solar panels on its rooftop.
The 3000-square-metre building contains 2200 kilowatt hours (kWh) of energy storage capacity, comprising around 90 per cent thermal storage and the remaining 10 per cent as conventional battery storage. Fluid Solar House is also part of Tesla's car-charging network, with provision for 11 electric vehicles parking spots fully supplied by solar power harvested from a 98kWp array of 378 PV solar panels on the building's roof.
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The complete Fluid Solar energy system includes a 150-kilowatt (kW) rooftop concentrating solar thermal collector array, a 2200 kWh thermal storage system, and radiant hydronic heating and cooling using stored thermal energy. In addition, a latent energy storage capacity, exceeding 10,000 kWh, allows Fluid Solar House to stay off the electricity grid year-round while maintaining comfortable temperatures for its occupants.
Fluid Solar House incorporates passive design features that ensure it is comfortable, efficient and healthy - plus a range of smart building technologies to manage and reduce energy demand. The building has a solar thermal powered air conditioning system including filtration, humidity control and cooling, a 98kW rooftop array of photovoltaic (PV) solar panels, and a 120kWh (effective discharge capacity) battery pack to ensure supply of its base load electricity requirements 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. If there is any energy shortfall, the final few hours of energy demand each year can be met by winding back in-building electrical energy use by means of the Smart Building energy consumption controls, or commissioning an 8kW gas powered co-generation system (600cc, ~60c/kWh equivalent). This gas co-generation unit, while very modest in size, will guarantee 100% uptime for the building regardless of extended cloudy windless periods that might occur occasionally. Latent heat rejection is by evaporation of stored rainwater, with no demand for town water to meet cooling requirements.
System life is estimated at 18-20 years before a substantial capital refresh is required. The off-grid electrical technology is all industry standard, tried and true, deep cycle lead batteries, standard PV array, standard off grid inverter technology with autostart for backup co-generation.While modern alternative battery technologies all hold promise, none has a track record long enough to remove risk from the investment equation and each has significant drawbacks. Lithium technology while trending strongly, has substantial fire control and safety considerations that add to the total install cost, the estimated life may be 60% after 3000 cycles (ten years) meaning payback may only just be achieved before battery replacement is required.
During sunny periods, excess energy will be available for electric car charging. It is estimated that over the 20+ year life cycle of the energy system, in excess of 7,000,000 kilometres of surplus power could be stored and utilised in electric vehicles parked at the site and charged during the day. Two Tesla car charging points have already been installed and can be found on
If you would like to visit Fluid Solar House for a tour, please contact [email protected] .