The first Wigan homes are being equipped with air source heat pumps (ASHPs) in a Japanese-led research project. The Smart Community Demonstration Project in Greater Manchester will see 600 homes equipped with heat pumps connected to a smart grid system, which will aggregate the energy produced – allowing supply and demand to be balanced.
The research project is being spearheaded by Japan’s New Energy Development Organisation (NEDO), and Hitachi is consortium leader, working with Daikin Industries, Mizuho Corporate Bank and Mizuho Information and Research Institute. NEDO signed a deal worth up to £20m with the Greater Manchester Combined Authority to trial new technology in the UK. The trial will include the retrofit of 300 council homes.
The consortium aims to use the research project to identify new business models. It wants to develop schemes for the large-scale roll out of heat pumps and to encourage consumers to participate in aggregation initiatives.