Solar Heat Energy Demonstrator (SHED)

The Solar Heat Energy Demonstrator in Margam is used to trial two large-scale solar heat storage demonstrators. It is a 1990’s industrial unit that has been retrofitted with solar technology, and as a result, has been running without gas since 2012. The SHED is also home to two other major projects: Transport for Wales’ Active Train Shelter and a test-rig to analyse five commercially available PV and solar thermal technologies.


A solar air collector of approximately 590m2 on the southwest facing wall of the building supplies heat into the building or to a large water tank, which stores heat for use the following day. Gas consumption was eliminated as a result of installing this system, with an estimated energy saving of 75%.

A BSRIA independent monitoring report for September 2012 to November 2013 stated that it “achieved a low carbon and economical heating solution”, which had the “performance of a ground source heat pump with the flexibility of air source”. It concluded that the solar air collector and solar store were “demonstrated to be a viable renewable heating option”.


Our second large scale demonstrator in the SHED is the Inter-seasonal Heat Store. This system stores heat from a Tata Steel Colorcoat Renew SC® solar collector on the roof of the building in SIM (salt in matrix) thermochemical material. Moist air passed over the SIM causes an exothermic reaction, releasing heat from the salt matrix for use in the room.