Solar Thermal Systems Mililani HI
Wind Turbines / Solar Panels
Kailua Kona, HI
A Business Using Solar Thermal
The following is a profile of a business using solar energy to its advantage. The car wash is located in Toronto, Canada, with only 6 months of reasonably sunny conditions (same latitude as Massachusetts). The site uses solar thermal, preheating its water to save a bundle of energy on its hot water bills. It's one of so many examples of smart, practical use of the sun's energy to save big bucks over the long term.
(used with permission from ARISE Technologies , Canada)
Solar energy is a perfect solution for pre-heating hot water used in car washes. Car washes experience their greatest demand during the sunny portion of the day. This is typically between 11am and 5pm when the maximum energy from the sun is available. By closely matching hot water demand with energy from the sun, energy and economic efficiencies can be obtained.
The Sunoco Car Wash located on McCowan Road in Markham, Canada, now pre-heats its water using 40 unglazed solar collectors - each one 120" x 50". The unglazed solar panels are similar to those used to heat residential pools. Unglazed collectors are basically plastic mats with no cover and no insulated back. They offer higher efficiency in warm calm conditions. A racking system tilts the collectors to maximize the heat collected. The unglazed panels make it necessary to use a low operating pressure in the collector loop.
The savings will be substantial, and even though Sunoco expects to reach a financial breakeven point in approximately 10 years (without use of government assistance), economic reasons are not the only motivation of the stakeholders.
"The opening of this car wash is another step in Sunoco's ongoing commitment to sustainable environmental developments. We hope this project will prove to be a viable, environmental innovation which can be used elsewhere both by Sunoco and others," says Neil Levine of Suncor Energy.
Car washes using conventional boilers fired by natural gas, generate greenhouse gas (GHG...
Solar Thermal Case Study #2
Solar thermal systems have a very high user satisfaction rating. There is no end to the number of successful solar thermal systems we might have chose to profile here. The following portrait of a solar thermal system in use comes from the Canadian Renewable Energy site from Natural Resources Canada. It profiles the use of solar thermal at a small inn in Nova Scotia.
Chanterelle Inn is a large country inn located in North River, Nova Scotia, approximately 50 kilometres north of Baddeck on the Cabot Trail. Although the inn operates year-round, most of the inn's guests, who come from around the world, visit during the spring, summer and fall.
The two-storey inn, shown in the photo with the Cape Breton Highlands in the background, was constructed in 2000. The wood-frame building measures 15 metres by 15 metres and has a full basement. It features eight suites on the upper floor, as well as a kitchen, a dining room, a lounge and another large suite on the main floor.
The building consumes no fossil fuels on site and depends upon solar energy with electricity backup for space and water heating. An in-floor radiant heating system also provides space heating for the inn.
The Solar Decision
Earlene Busch, owner of the inn, had three key environmental objectives in mind when she decided to construct the inn in 2000:
According to Busch, "Solar hot water seemed a natural fit with my three environmental objectives." One factor that helped her choose solar is Natural Resources Canada's Renewable Energy Deployment Initiative (REDI), which contributed 25 percent of the purchase and installation costs of the solar hot water system.
Thermo Dynamics Ltd. of Dartmouth, Nova Scotia, designed and supplied the solar hot water system. SunRoss Energy Systems Ltd. of Port Hawkesbury, Nova Scotia, installed it.
The system includes 16 flat-plate and two 12-volt solar electric (photovoltaic) collectors. They are located on the south roof and are mounted at a 35 slope with an azimuth of 10 west of south. The two photovoltaic collectors supply power to the system's water pump. The panels are mounted on Unistrut channels lagged to the roof and sealed with silicone to prevent leaks. Extra trusses were installed to ensure that the roof could support the additional load of the solar panels. The glycol piping runs down to the basement through the roof and walls. A rubber boot was installed around the piping on the roof to prevent water leaks. The mechanical equipment is located in the basement next to the in-floor radiant heating equipment.
The total project cost was $36,700. With REDI's 25-percent contribution, the cost was reduced by approximately $9,100 fo...
Solar Thermal System Warranties
A warranty is absolutely integral to evaluating bids. You need to be assured that your solar thermal system will be repaired should anything break down.
Solar thermal systems should carry a basic warranty covering materials and installation for at least one year. You should be able to get extended warranties (perhaps at extra cost) for five to 10 years on some of the key components (i.e. collectors and tubing).
Be aware of all the financial arrangements and exact warranty responsibility of every party involved. Be aware that there may be several parties involved-the dealer, the installer and the manufacturer. Be sure you know whom to contact in case of breakdown. A reputable dealer will be able to direct all your concerns in this area.
Be sure to read your warranty carefully and ask questions of your solar installer.