Kingspan Delivers Solar Thermal Hot Water Until The Cows Come Home

An organic dairy farm in Pembrokeshire, Wales, has found the perfect sustainable solution to its hot water needs with Kingspan Solar’s world-leading Thermomax solar thermal vacuum tube collectors. The 500-acre farm, which houses a large organic dairy herd, has installed 180 solar thermal vacuum tubes to generate enough hot water to meet its demanding cleaning requirements. These high-performance solar thermal collectors not only generate up to 70 per cent of the farm’s annual hot water needs, they also deliver a dramatic reduction in its energy costs and carbon emissions.

Hywel James, who runs the farm in Pembrokeshire’s Teifi Valley, needed to find a way to heat 500 litres of water to 90˚C on a daily basis in order to clean the plant and its equipment. Mr James approached Llani Solar Ltd, which specified 18 square metres of Kingspan Solar Thermomax solar thermal vacuum tubes. They were installed on a specially constructed south-facing canopy to maximise heat gain from the sun and also to provide shelter outside the milking parlour. The system is already reporting significant savings for the farm, producing around 10,000kWh of heat per year with annual savings of around £1,500.

Llani Solar Ltd Managing Director Chris Lord-Smith comments: “Mr James already had solar thermal collectors on the farm house and having experienced first-hand the savings that could be made, he was keen to replicate this on the dairy farm. His hot water requirements were such that we specified a solar thermal system that would maximise the solar gain during periods with less sunshine, for example the colder winter months, to ensure the plant’s hot water needs would be met all year round.”

Specifically tailored for northern European climates, Thermomax vacuum tubes deliver an unrivalled transfer of solar energy into heat. This, coupled with rapid conductivity, means these collectors are up to 30 per cent more effective than traditional flat plate panel equivalents. The vacuum inside each tube provides perfect insulation by protecting the system from outside influences, such as cold, wet or windy weather, resulting in quality performance all year round. The vacuum tubes also allow energy from the sun to be collected efficiently and effectively, so that solar-heated water is readily available to meet the farm’s needs.

Mr Lord-Smith continues: “As independent installers, we only specify what we consider to be the very best equipment on the market today, and Kingspan Solar’s Thermomax solar thermal vacuum tubes were the ideal solution for this particular application. In fact, they are performing so well that Mr James is exploring building a hot tub to make use of the excess hot water that they generate!”

Kingspan Renewables GB managing director Cameron Holroyd adds: “The Thermomax vacuum tubes not only have a dramatic impact on Mr James’ energy consumption and costs, they also deliver consistent and reliable results, which is vital for the lifeblood and day-to-day running of the dairy farm.

“We are committed to providing state-of-the-art sustainable solutions to reduce carbon emissions. This installation is a prime example of the kind of energy-conscious changes that can be made to help the UK deliver its share of the EU target for 20% of energy to come from renewable sources.”

Complete solar packages from Kingspan Solar are custom-designed to suit each specific application, including all components required for the complete installation. Designed to provide the specifier, installer and end user with the ultimate solar solution, they are backed by the highest level of customer support, from initial advice through to bespoke design, installation, final commissioning and technical support.

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