Tŷ Solar was developed by Western Solar as a prototype for ultra-low-energy affordable housing. Extensive research was undertaken to develop a sustainable timber building system for homes using locally sourced materials and powered by solar energy. Welsh larch and Douglas fir – much from local woodlands – were the main woods identified for the structure, cladding, doors and windows. The triple-glazed windows were manufactured to Passivhaus standards by a local Pembrokeshire supplier. Whilst the frame is insulated using nearly 11 inches of recycled paper, the use of modern permeable materials ensures that the house remains fully breathable. A further benefit is that the use of carcinogenic chemicals – commonly used elsewhere in construction materials – has been eliminated in the design of Tŷ Solar.
In 2014 we built a prototype home that would eliminate the reliance on fossil fuels and eliminate fuel poverty. We started with a very simple premise, that the sun was the biggest source of untapped energy in the universe and that we should seek every means possible by this use of technology and astute design to maximise this celestial power source. We decided to throw out every preconception on building a home and start with a clean sheet of paper. The result was Tŷ Solar (means Solar House).
Pentre Solar is a hamlet of 6 solar homes to be let to those on the social housing register, released in 2017. We are looking to replicate this model throughout Wales. If you would like to be kept informed of our developments, please sign up to our mailing list. We will not pass your email address to any other organisation, and will email you only when we have something to say about our developments.
Western Solar’s hamlet of six affordable homes at Glanrhyd in north Pembrokeshire was completed in 2017 and the houses were let to families on the social housing register.
As well as enjoying warm, ultra-low-energy homes, the new residents also share the use of a Nissan Leaf electric car, which was kept charged up by the energy generated by the 192 solar panels on the roofs of the six houses.
The hamlet is now managed by ATEB.
Between 2018 and 2019 we developed a further 2 solar hamlets for Coastal Housing Association in (Ammanford, Carmarthenshire) and for ATEB Housing Association (at the Square and Compass in North Pembrokeshire).
In 2021 we completed a solar village in Boncath in Pembrokeshire comprising 15 houses of which there were 6, 1 bedroomed apartments and 4, 2-bedroom semi-detached homes. A further 5 open market 4 bedroom detached homes were added on the same site.
Educating the local community on the advantages of zero carbon.
Local sourcing of timber.
Benefits of the pattern book approach.
Modular prefabricated units reduce site construction time.
Energy savings per household.
Levels of satisfaction with homes.