Submitted by David Liddell
Published 2 weeks, 2 days ago
Hospitals have a very large demand for hot water and water heating is a major expense. Most hospitals use heat pumps to save energy when supplying their hot water requirements, and it is also possible to supplement the heat pumps by retrofitting a component to save even more energy and cost.
Switching to a hybrid solar hot water/heat pump system reduces the cost of energy and shows a good return on investment on the capital outlay. Even with heat pumps, Melomed Gatesville used approximately 350,000 kWh per month (11,600kWh per day) at a 2017 cost of R432,000 per month. Any savings of energy therefore make a very significant impact on the bottom line.
After designing a small solar water heating system, Solarex applied for a grant from Soltrain/AEE INTEC, a program of the Austrian Development Agency. This grant makes the economics of such a project very attractive, the only condition being that the plant may be used as a demonstration unit.
Melomed accepted the updated proposal in December 2016, and the SOLTRAIN grant was awarded in March 2017.
On completion a month later, the equipment and installation were assessed by Rudi Moschik, an expert engineer from AEE INTEC, and was successfully signed off by SOLTRAIN on July 6, 2017.
The thermal performance of one of the hot water plants was monitored by the Centre for Renewable Studies (CRSES) at Stellenbosch University for a period of 12 months to allow for a full analysis of the energy generated, and to indicate where further improvements might be made to optimise the energy efficiency of the entire hot water system.
The following conclusions were reached:
Download the full report, including graphs and schematics, at this link.