Solar-powered house for dark December days

The energy company Skellefteå Kraft has decided to challenge the general view of its electricity supply by building a solar-powered house that is not connected to the electricity grid. At a place where the sun never shines for part of the year.

Under the Zero Sun Project, Skellefteå Kraft, together with A-hus, is building a standard detached home which is adapted to the northern Swedish climate and its unequal distribution of sunshine hours and dark winter days. In real time, the project will test a new self-sufficient energy system comprising interacting photovoltaics, batteries, hydrogen and fuel cells. The system is the second of its kind in the world and the first to be tested so far north.

We think this is Sweden’s most exciting energy project, which will teach us a lot about new, climate-smart energy systems, and which hopefully in the longer term will be of benefit to society and the world, says Christoffer Svanberg, head of the Business Innovation business area at Skellefteå Kraft.

It’s darkest and coldest here, but one of the main features of the new energy system is that all of the components interact so smartly that it can produce its own energy even when the sun isn’t shining, which is quite unique, says Christoffer Svanberg.

House from the standard range

The construction of the 140-sq.m. detached house, from the A-hus standard range, will be exactly the same as for an ordinary house, without any special adaptation other than windows with a slightly better energy value. The difference can be seen in the garage, however, where an energy centre is being installed to provide the house with its own energy supply, all year round.

The house has a self-sufficient energy system based on photovoltaics, batteries, hydrogen and fuel cells. PowerCell will deliver the PowerCell PS-5 fuel cell system, to generate electricity during the dark hours of the year. PowerCell PS-5 is a system that was launched as a product last year and which makes it possible to generate electricity from the solar power stored in the hydrogen.

Focusing on fossil free

When the sun shines, energy is generated, which is stored as hydrogen. This hydrogen is stored for times without sunshine, to run the fuel cell system that generates electricity for the household.

It’s a great inspiration to be able to help with this. It’s a challenge to build a self-sufficient, fossil free house as far north as Skellefteå,” says Måns Holst, Business Manager at PowerCell, and responsible for customer segments with stationary requirements. “The world needs to cut the cord to fossil fuels and focus on renewable energy. Skellefteå Kraft’s project shows that PowerCell’s robust and innovative technology makes it possible to live more fossil free, even when access to renewable energy is limited.

The Zero Sun Project is being developed by Skellefteå Kraft in collaboration with Hans-Olof Nilsson, who has built his own remarkable self-sufficient house in Gothenburg, also based on PowerCell PS-5. Skellefteå Kraft’s house will be ready in June 2018 and the general public will be able to book to stay in the house.

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Andreas Bodén
Director Sales and Aftermarket