Solar Panels for Hotels

28.09.09 105

Historically, owners of lodging establishments throughout England have ignored the sun as a source of potential energy to heat water. Whether because of concerns about cost or misconceptions about how solar thermal technology works, solar hot water heating systems have been rare.

That is all beginning to change, however, thanks to improving technologies, tax incentives and rebates, creative financing, better education about solar thermal heating, an increase in the number of developers interested in building to Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design standards.

How does solar thermal energy work? If you have returned to your car and opened the door after the car has been sitting in the sun for an hour, or sit in a conservatory, you have experienced solar thermal energy.In a typical solar hot water heating system, solar collectors absorb the sun’s rays, convert them to heat and then transfer that heat to a heat-transfer fluid. The heat-transfer fluid is typically a glycol and water mixture for England where seasonal freezing is a concern.

“The heat-transfer fluid is then pumped into a heat exchanger located inside the water storage tank where it heats the water. “After releasing its heat via the heat exchanger, the heat-transfer fluid flows back to the collectors to be reheated. The controller keeps the heat-transfer fluid circulating whenever there is heat available in the solar collectors. In the winter, a boiler serves as an alternate heat source. Solar thermal systems can be integrated into existing hot water

Appropriate for Any Location

One might conclude that solar hot water heating is only an option for properties in southern locations but that is not the case. The sun generates enough energy even in northern locations to make solar thermal systems feasible.

“It pretty much works anywhere, from both a technological and financial standpoint,” Stornoway’ Scotland, for example, may get less direct sunlight but those living there pay more for their energy, so it makes sense.”

90 present of the time roofs can bear the weight of a solar thermal structure. Adequate roof space is important and of course access to sunlight is key. A building rooftop cannot be shaded for a good portion of the day.

Feasible for Most Hotels

“Most hotels have solar potential. “The technology has gotten to the point where it is a cookie cutter. It is a little bit easier to do for new construction but quite feasible for most hotels.”

When people ask what advice they would need to consider having a solar hot water heating system installed in to their hotel:

“Have  Phoenix Solar Ltd come out to do a feasibility study,”  “we can get a good handle on what your rates are, and your laundry and domestic hot water needs.” Including swimming pools and spas.

“Work with a Phoenix Solar Ltd, experienced in doing large commercial systems.

With typical installations reducing the amount of energy needed to heat hot water by two-thirds, solar thermal systems are becoming a much more sensible solution for new and existing hotels. In fact, they are five times more efficient at.producing energy when compared to solar photovoltaic systems.

System Facts

  • System cost is off-set 100% in the first year
  • All Vat claimed back in the next Vat quarter
  • 10 pence per Kwh is paid for a period of 20 years
  • Savings of up to 60% on energy costs
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