ELECTRICS & PHOTOVOLTAICS
The principles of simplicity and low impact suggest that the majority of huts will not be connected to the national electricity grid. Power can be carried into the site using batteries ranging from hand-held torches to larger (typically 12V) storage batteries plugged into a lighting system. You may also use inverters in combined units to give 240V AC.
Where budgets permit, micro-renewable systems will be the ideal sustainable solution for single huts. For multi-hut developments requiring power - which are not covered in this Guide - renewable systems with shared power sources whether wind turbines, hydro power and photovoltaic panels (PV) will be good practice.
For individual huts with a suitable roof or piece of adjacent open ground, suitably orientated PV panels offer an ideal low carbon, low impact power solution. DC systems (12V) with or without inverters to supply 240V AC can be installed according to individual needs. Battery banks are usually required (see 18.3).
The wind uplift on your panels can be very significant depending on the exposure of your site and you are advised to take professional advice on suitable mountings and fixings. Roof penetrations also need to be carefully sealed and this will be determined by the type of roof covering. Stoves and gas cookers are best suited to heating and cooking (see Stoves, flues and chimneys).
Both AC and DC systems can threaten life. Best practice will therefore be to use professional installers. Standards for sizing of wires, containment, location of sockets, earthing systems, overload trips and isolation must be properly specified. Whilst DIY installation is possible, the installer will be responsible for the safety of the system.
Any installation should be checked, tested and certified by a qualified electrician who is a member of SELECT or another trade organisation.
The recharging of some batteries leads to the emission of flammable gases. For this reason a charging space that is adequately ventilated and sealed off from the rest of the hut must be provided.