drake landing solar community
by Tim Willmott : Be the first to leave a comment
The Drake Landing Solar Community (DLSC) is nestled inside the Drake Landing housing development in the north east corner of Okotoks, Alberta, 15 minutes south of Calgary. 52 houses are heated solely by warm water circulating through insulated, underground pipes of a district heating system. It is the first major implementation in North America of a proven European technology known as “solar seasonal storage“. Solar thermal energy is collected in the summer, stored underground, and then returned to the homes as heat during the winter.
The system has been designed to help with the rising issues of global warming and burning fossil fuels; the area was built in an attempt to dramatically decrease the climate pollution from the area. It has been reported that over five tonnes of greenhouse gases will be saved per home per year.
The solar energy is captured by 800 solar panels located on the roofs of the houses across all fifty-two houses. These collect excess solar thermal energy during the summer, storing it as heated rock/soil under the community park. During the cold winter months, the heat is retrieved from the rock/soil and delivered to the homes. Solar seasonal energy storage systems of this scale are relatively unique.
The 800 solar collectors in the Drake Landing Solar Community act as the primary energy source, sending collected energy into the short term thermal storage (STTS) tanks, via a glycol/water heat exchanger. The collection of solar energy occurs whenever the sunlight is strong enough to produce useful heat.
On a typical summer day the collection system is capable of producing 1.5 megawatts of thermal power. From the STTS, the thermal energy will be sent through the district loop, to be utilized by homes as needed. If there is more solar heat available than is currently needed by the homes (which is always the case during summer, when little or no heat is required), energy will be transferred from the STTS tanks to seasonal storage in the borehole field.