Fluid Solar today cuts the power cord for Fluid Solar House, its new $8 million head office in Adelaide, which has run all winter on renewable energy, independent of SA’s troubled power grid, using a world-first design that cuts construction costs and slashes energy consumption.Breakthrough building technology company
This afternoon, the Federal Minister for Environment and Energy, the Hon. Josh Frydenberg visited Fluid Solar House to symbolically sever the power cord connecting the energy self-sufficient building to the State’s unreliable electricity grid. Fluid Solar’s “Off-Grid Party” celebrates the fact that Fluid Solar House has operated free of the electricity grid since April this year, saving more than $28,000 in power bills.
Located just 1km from the closing GM Holden car plant at Elizabeth, 27km north of Adelaide, Fluid Solar House could disconnect from SA’s embattled electricity grid due to its ability to generate 250 kilowatt peak (kWp) of solar thermal and electric power from the building’s innovative combination of photovoltaic (PV) solar panels, concentrating solar thermal tubes and wind turbines on the rooftop.
Fluid Solar Managing Director Roger Davies said the company’s building technology was a breakthrough in both construction and energy costs. “This is the future of affordable, energy-smart housing, from rural remote shacks to medium-rise commercial buildings,” he said.
“With the cost of building houses largely driven by labour costs, our building system uses pre-designed modular components, transported in flat packs and assembled with metal fittings that plug together. Our system can assemble a four-bedroom home on a prepared site in less than four weeks.
“As well as an enormous speed advantage, we deliver the benefits of low on-going energy costs. Traditional homes consume from $1300 to $4000 each year in energy costs whereas a Fluid Solar home can reduce that figure by 90 per cent - or go off-grid altogether.
“Fluid Solar House demonstrates the benefits of our construction system and is now entirely off-grid.”
Fluid Solar House is a 3000-square-metre custom-designed four-storey commercial office building, constructed with a range of Fluid Solar technologies. These include a large thermal energy bank beneath its car park, a renewable energy-powered heating, cooling and ventilation system and innovative, patented concentrating solar thermal collectors.
Fluid Solar’s unique off-grid-capable system is the first of its kind in the world, with a hybrid solar thermal and conventional PV solar panel energy system, to cool the building in summer and warm it through the winter. The building contains more than two megawatt hours (MWh) of energy storage capacity, comprising around 90 per cent thermal storage with the remaining 10 per cent provided by conventional battery storage.
Fluid Solar House is also part of Tesla's car-charging network, with provision for a total of 11 parking spots for electric vehicles that will be charged completely by solar power harvested from a 98 kWp array of 378 PV solar panels on the building's roof.
To walk the walk as well as talk the talk, in just three days Fluid Solar constructed an energy-smart “tiny home” in its car park - with the same technology used to build Fluid Solar House.
Fluid Solar’s system for building homes is inherently energy-smart, using steel-framed, Colorbond-covered panels filled with insulating foam. Electrical wiring, cabling and plumbing is embedded in service conduits pre-designed into the panels.
Roger Davies said he has planning approval to build a two-storey 20-apartment complex at Munno Para using Fluid Solar’s modular, energy-smart construction system. “We believe this will open up a market for affordable housing with low energy costs,” he said. “All of our off-site-built modular housing options are near off-grid capable in their energy requirements, which makes them cheaper to build and much more affordable to run.
“Our system is also ideal for building rural and remote housing because of its affordability, our ability to deliver the panels in flat-packed containers and its speed and ease of construction.”
Fluid Solar building system components are produced at a factory at Edinburgh, in Adelaide’s north.
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About Fluid Solar www.fluidsolarthermal.com
Fluid Solar Pty Ltd is an Australian-owned company that develops innovative technologies and building strategies to revolutionise the way we build homes and collect, store and consume energy.