Solar Energy Laboratory

Solar energy laboratory at Satakunta University of Applied Sciences is equipped with versatile research equipment for renewable energies. The laboratory is used for research on producing and storing heat, electricity and chilling. Support for the development of a measurement and control system is a key function of the laboratory.

Two separate collector groups are formed by using flat plate and evacuated tube collectors. These are the most commonly used technologies in Finland. Produced heat is stored in three hot water storages (1000, 500 and 30 liters). A wood pellet boiler is installed in the laboratory to simulate hybrid energy systems and to produce additional heat to the hot water collectors when necessary. Different bio-energy materials can be tested with the boiler and their flue gas emissions can be measured. The laboratory is equipped for later expansions of renewable energy systems.

An adsorption chiller uses hot water for cooling. The cooling process is based on the evaporation of water, which takes heat from its surroundings. Cold water is stored in 300 liter cold water storage, from where it can be used in air conditioning.

Photovoltaic system consists of 18 solar panels that are used to do research for example on how the angles effect on the production rates at different seasons. In addition to this, the system has a solar tracker which automatically directs the panel towards the sun. Produced electricity is used in the laboratory and excess is stored in a 24 kWh set of AGM-batteries.

Energy consumption of different buildings can be simulated by controlling the liquid cooler circuit with different consumption profiles. The liquid cooler circuit works also as a condenser for the waste heat from the adsorption chiller. Heat exchangers, which work as consumers, use the generated heat according to the simulated building. Consumption circuit works as in a regular building. Simulations of heating system and the heating coil of air conditioning are included in the consumption circuit. In addition, the circuit can be used to cool boilers and storages after test runs.

Solar laboratory brochure (pdf)


How it works (Heat)

  • 2 flat plate collectors and 2 evacuated tube collectors, total ca. 10 m2, collect heat in to the non-freezing solution of propylene-glycol and water that circulates in the collectors. Heat is transferred from the liquid in to water with heat exchangers.
  • Hot water is stored in 1000, 500 and 30 liter hot water storages.
  • Hot water storages can be used to model consumption of hot service water in different sized families.
  • Heat exchangers at the consumption side are used to simulate e.g. heating of a property
  • Pellet boiler can direct heat to the same system and therefore simultaneous use of solar thermal collectors and pellets can be tested.
  • Cooling device turns hot water in to cold water for air conditioning using adsorption method.

How it works (Electricity)

  • 18 panels in three different installation angles feed electricity into the laboratory through inverters
  • Additional power is gained from a tracker system  that moves in the direction of the sun
  • Excess electricity is stored in 24 kWh AGM battery
  • When produced electricity isn’t enough, electricity from the batteries is used
  • As consumption grows, electricity from the grid is used to offset the consumption
  • Grid inverters direct the use of electricity between photovoltaics, batteries and grid
  • Pure renewable energy can be used to charge the electric car of the university
Equipment Model
18 PV panels Evergreen ES-A210
Data logger Sunny WebBox
3 Inverters SMA Sunny Boy 1200
Weather station Vaisala WXT520
3 Pyranometers Kipp & Zonen SP Lite2
2 Pyranometers Kipp & Zonen CMP3
Tracker& comparison panel Sanyo HIT-HD4
Inverters Enecsys Micro inverter
Data logger Enecsys Gateway
Solar thermal
2 Flat plate collectors EURO L20 AR
2 Evacuated tube collectors AHP 20
Laboratory facility
Artificial sun
Hot water storage AKVA Solar 1000
Hot water storage AKVA Solar 500
Cold water storage Akvaterm
Adsorption chiller InvenSor LTC 09
Temperature sensors Pt100
Water meters E-THXKA
Flowmeters ifm SBY 433
Pressure sensors Sitrans P200
Valves Belimo HRYD24 – SR
Pumps WILO-Stratos 25/1-10 CAN PN 10
Pellet boiler Thermia Biomatic +
Batteries 12 AGM batteries (á 2V, 1000Ah)
3 Grid inverters Victron Energy Quattro 8000