The first off-grid housing complex has been developed using a combination of solar PV and hydrogen fuels cells. The project first began in early 2018 in the Vargada Municipality of Sweden, with the breakthrough being initiated by housing company Vargada Bostafder with partners Better Energy and Nillson Energy.
Upon completion, the complex will have all of its electricity and heating needs met using on-site solar generation and storage. Currently, one building has been completed and it is in full service. Each building is given a 109 kWp solar on the roof and this covers all of the heating and electrical needs.
Producing electricity from hydrogen is not a new concept but the idea behind the whole idea of merging it with solar power was initiated by the Vargada project and this has provided a new approach to sustainable, all-year-round energy.
As a result, the unforgiving winters in Sweden will be offset by the hydrogen storage system and that means that the solar system will be maximised during the long summer days. Along with this, hydrogen electricity also generates heat as a by-product and that provided combines cycle benefits in the depths of winter.
The solution is designed to harness the unlimited energy of the sun and hydrogen, which is a simple element found in huge quantities on earth. Both of these sources are readily available, so this is just a case of bringing them together to create a new way to supply efficient, sustainable energy.
Hydrogen can be stored for a long time and it can be combusted in the same way as a fossil fuel, however, it is limited because of the amount of energy needed. By diverting solar generation peaks to the hydrogen storage, it reduces waste and so, hydrogen renewable energy storage solutions, if they can be scaled provide a way of dealing with some of the problems that solar power has with the grid.