Work under way on UK's first completely solar-powered house
Building work has started on the UK's first completely solar-powered house.
The Solar House, in Stretton Road, Great Glen, is the first to be completely heated and fuelled by the sun's energy all year round.
Solar energy collected by panels on the roof will collect enough heat to provide heating, hot water and twice the electricity needed to power the four-bedroom house.
Surplus energy will be collected in summer, stored by heating underground pipes beneath the house then retrieved using a heat pump when it is needed.
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Building work on the project by Caplin Homes began yesterday.
Michael Goddard, a director at Caplin Homes, said: "We are very excited to have been given the green light to build the Solar House and to demonstrate zero-carbon living can be achieved at reasonable cost.
"Our ambition is to prove to UK house-builders that it is possible for them to build houses to these standards and to provide them with the means to do so.
"This will enable householders to be set free from ever-increasing energy bills."
The company would not reveal the cost of the project, but said the house would be put on the market for "£1 million-plus" when it is sold.
The house, which will also have lots of south-facing triple-glazed windows, was given planning approval by Harborough District Council in December.
The two-storey home will be completely self-sufficient for most of the year, only relying on the underground heat store for 10 weeks, when the sun does not provide enough power.
Caplin hoped that with the initial costs of the technology, the elimination of energy bills meant there would be at least a 10 per cent return on a Solar House home.
The energy flows in the home will be intensively monitored by a student from De Montfort University's Institute of Energy and Sustainable Development.
Dr Andrew Wright, of the department, said: "We are delighted to play such a key role in this important project, which could prove a milestone in energy-efficient living.
"We will provide support and assist with project management, act as an independent assessor of the building's performance and will make the results of their analysis available to the public."
Once the house is complete, in August, Kibworth estate agents Country Properties will put it on the market.
Seminars will also be held in the home to showcase the technology. It is hoped the technology will then be rolled out into the building industry through a number of pilot projects.