Trawsdir, one of Wales’s top Touring and Caravan Parks, located in the beautiful Snowdonia National Park, has embraced renewable energy with the installation of solar technology. Solar thermal now supplies the hot water and feeds the underfloor heating in the shower block, lowering its gas usage and carbon footprint while boosting the Park’s income by around £2,000 per annum.
Trawsdir is a 5* family-run and maintained Touring & Caravan Park located in Snowdonia National Park in an area of outstanding natural beauty overlooking both Cardigan Bay and the impressive Lleyn Peninsula.
During recent refurbishment work at the Park, local renewable energy installers Arizon Energy, were asked to review options for renewable energy technology, determining the cost/benefit of a number of alternatives including solar thermal and solar PV.
Initial analysis by Arizon highlighted that the demand for hot water within the shower block was consuming a considerable proportion of the overall energy usage of the Park, particularly in the peak summer months.
Arizon approached Kingspan Solar, part of Kingspan Environmental, to help design a system to provide a reliable source of year-round hot water for the block that could also cope with the heavy seasonal loading placed upon it during peak periods.
Kingspan Solar’s specialist design and engineering team designed a dual-purpose solar thermal system that not only heated the domestic potable water for the showers and basins within the block, the excess energy it generated also supplied additional hot water to an underfloor heating system to help dry the shower floors and prevent damp and mould developing.
The designers gathered pertinent information surrounding the installation, such as floor areas and the flow temperature required to feed both systems, as well as the amount of water used each day, and this was fed into Kingspan Solar software. The software calculates the metre2 of solar thermal collectors and their optimum placement on the shower block’s roof to maximise solar collection both during the morning and in the period of peak energy demand in the evening. Highly accurate annual daily water usage figures were obtained from metre readings at the Park, which added extra precision to their calculations and confidence in the efficacy and efficiency of the system design.
In total, 10 Thermomax Heat Pipe solar thermal collectors were specified covering 28,000m2, to be placed West/East on each side of the shower block – with the majority facing West with the tubes twisted towards south to capture the early afternoon – evening sun to deliver sufficient energy to cover the additional hot water loading later in the day. The Thermomax collectors with dual stream pumps fed heated Glycol to two x 500l Manco stainless steel cylinders and one x 500l Manco stainless steel buffer to the underfloor heating.
Thermomax collectors are up to 30 per cent more effective than traditional flat plate panels, using vacuum technology to deliver an unrivalled transfer of solar energy into heat. The vacuum inside each tube not only provides outstanding insulation, it also suppresses heat loss by protecting the system from cold, wet or windy weather. The result is optimum performance levels all year round, even in Northern Europe.
During the winter months, while there is less solar energy and reduced demand for domestic hot water in the Park, the solar thermal system has been designed to continue to feed warmed water into the underfloor heating as a defence against frozen and burst pipes and to continue to resist the build-up of mould.
A year on from the original installation and it is clear that the system is out-performing every expectation. Results collated by Arizon have showed enormous energy savings, far outstripping the initial T*SOL predictions.
The system has generated 14,994kWh of heat which equates to annual commercial RHI income in excess of £1,300. Gas is supplied to the Park as LPG, and the annual saving in gas usage for their hot water only of 13,000 litres as a consequence of the installation of solar thermal equates to more than £770 in cost savings, add to that the further savings from the solar heated underfloor heating system savings in LPG equate to £1882 pa. In total, therefore, the system is boosting the income generated by the Park by around £3,000 per annum.
Chris Shenton who co-owns Trawsdir Touring Caravan & Camping with Rob Williams says: "The system that was installed two seasons ago has met and exceeded our and the installers’ expectations.
“The savings in gas alone speak for themselves; having the added benefit of the RHI makes the payback of the system even sooner. With the cost of fossil fuels rising annually we are hoping to be saving well into the future, making us a greener site and reducing our carbon footprint. We would recommend that all sites like our selves large or small benefit from renewable energy.”
Kingspan Solar offers custom-designed solar packages tailored to meet the needs of each specific application. Packages include total customer support from initial advice, through to bespoke design/specification, installation, final commissioning and technical support. The company also now offers funding solutions for solar thermal installations through their finance partners and accredited installers’ network.
The Kingspan Solar range includes both flat plate options (in-roof or on-roof) and Thermomax evacuated tube collectors, together with all required components for the complete installation.
For more information call Kingspan Environmental on 0845 260 0258, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.