Talybont Energy funded the installation of 4kW Solar PV panels on the roof of Henderson Hall in 2011 and a further 4kW in 2014. These supply the hall’s electricity needs, power the community van and also create a small income by selling surplus energy back to the grid via Good Energy (the same company that the turbine sells to).
In 2014, Talybont Energy funded a new environmentally friendly heating system for Henderson Hall. It uses an air-to-air heat pump to heat the building through 4 hot air vents in the main hall ceiling and an additional unit in the committee room. The heat pump is electric but produces 3 to 5 kilowatts of heat for every kilowatt of electricity it uses, by extracting heat from the outside air. The system can heat the hall more quickly than the current system, which suits a building that isn’t occupied all the time. The heat pump itself is housed in the existing boiler room, but takes in air from the outside before returning it (quite a bit colder!) to the outside through louvres.
Think of a heat pump as just a large refrigerator operating in reverse, producing hot air from cold air by a process of alternately compressing and condensing a liquid refrigerant with a very low boiling point. An added benefit is that, on a hot summer day, the system can operate in reverse to cool the air instead. And if the sun is shining, much of the electricity to heat (or cool) the hall will be “free” courtesy of the PV panels on the roof, whose capacity has been doubled to 8kW.
The hall will retain its current gas boiler as a backup and provide hot water.