Inspiring solutions

CHOICES solar district heat study


Owen Square Community Energy project

The CHOICES consortium led by CEPRO with partners ICAX, Eunomia and the University of Bath has delivered a comprehensive feasibility study of an innovative new renewable heat technology with funding from DECC.

The technology is a modular heat and power Energy Centre that will:

  • capture summer heat with air source heat pumps and charge an interseasonal borehole thermal energy store
  • supply heat in winter via district heat networks
  • reduce the grid impacts from electric heat by shifting electricity consumption from times of peak winter demand to times of surplus summer solar generation
  • provide new opportunities for Energy Service Companies to package and sell renewable heat

ICAX Energy Centre at Merton’s Acacia Intergenerational Centre

CHOICES was among 17 successful bids selected from 56 received by DECC. The £7m fund was announced by DECC in October 2014 to stimulate innovation in heat network technology that can help to reduce carbon emissions, reduce costs and support the development of UK heat network supply chains.

Findings from the study

A full Life Cycle Analysis was conducted by Eunomia to quantify the cost and benefits of the CHOICES approach compared with existing heating systems (individual gas boilers). Results showed annual carbon savings of 38% and energy savings of up to 64% in year 1, increasing to 51% carbon savings by year 10 and 66% by year 20 (carbon impact reduced to 86.1 kgCO2e/MWh).


Next steps

The next steps for the consortium is to build a fully operational pilot facility in Bristol that will provide real-world validation of the energy, cost and carbon savings reported through the feasibility study.

The CHOICES project combines pioneering interseasonal heat storage technology from ICAX,  energy-vector research from the University of Bath, CEPRO’s operations, monitoring and billing platform and full life cycle assessment by energy consultancy, Eunomia. The team will be working closely with Easton Community Centre and Easton Energy Group at the proposed site in Bristol.

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