Energy
A ray of sunshine

The latest generation of solar power can use the sun’s energy to generate power even on a cloudy day. It’s great news for the leisure industry, explains the Energy Desk’s Laura-Clare Davies

As the hottest topic in renewable energy solutions to emerge in the past 12 months, interest in the Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) is on the rise and so it should be. As explained in the last issue of Leisure Management, RHI is a financial incentive scheme that guarantees cashback payments for 20 years on the installation of renewable heat technologies. The scheme is designed to ensure that your benefits are two-fold; firstly you save money by producing your own energy, reducing your need for gas or oil; secondly, you get paid a fixed rate for the heat you generate.

So the big question now is what pieces of kit are out there that tick all the boxes for the RHI? The trick is in realising that different equipment will vary in terms of its compatibility with different sites, depending on where the majority of a building’s energy use sits. For example, leisure buildings rely a lot on air conditioning and water heating systems. Thankfully most technologies in the RHI scheme are used for heating and cooling, so from the outset, the leisure industry has a competitive advantage.

EVOLUTIONS IN RENEWABLE HEAT TECHNOLOGY
The renewable energy technology market is constantly evolving.

Solar panels or photovoltaics (PV), for example, have long been an established means of generating renewable energy via the sun’s direct heat source, and they have been adopted by domestic and commercial users up and down the country for the past decade. However, although these traditional solar power systems have proved viable in terms of producing electricity, they do rely on sunlight, which is something of an elusive commodity in some places.

This leads us on to thermodynamic solar panels (TSPs), the next generation in solar power.

Thermodynamic solar panels work in exactly the same way as conventional solar panels, insofar as they utilise the sun’s power and convert it to thermal energy to heat water, but with one very big difference. The sun doesn’t need to be out for the panels to operate. Sounds too good to be true, doesn’t it? Trust us, it’s not. The key word here is ‘dynamic’. The panels are activated by the surrounding ambient temperature, whether the sun is out or not.

So rather than restricting energy production to hours of the day with direct sunlight, TSPs generate heat from the atmosphere during the day and continue through the night, heating water to 55 degrees celsius. Generating energy 24 hours a day, 365 days a year is pretty impressive and these thermodynamic systems operate down to a minimum ambient temperature of -15 degrees celsius, which is of particular benefit if you're plagued by disappointing summers. What’s more, unlike conventional solar panels, TSPs don’t necessarily need to be placed on your roof. These systems can be installed anywhere on a building, meaning they can work with the overall aesthetics of a building.

MAKING THERMODYNAMIC SOLAR POWER WORK Thermodynamic solar power is very new to many markets and its innovative capabilities and overall efficiency will make this technology a big seller in the renewable heat sector. Installing this system will not only reduce your requirement for traditional water heating systems, it will also achieve guaranteed savings of a minimum of 30 per cent. For a leisure centre with heated pools and continually flowing showers, the savings will be huge.

And if that wasn’t enough, the technology qualifies for the Renewable Heat Incentive, which is undoubtedly its biggest advantage. If you choose to be among commercial energy users to pioneer this technology, applying to RHI should most definitely be a priority. Through the RHI, you will get paid a fixed amount on the heat energy you generate, and if you consider yourself a green champion, you can also sit back and relax at the thought of the significant carbon emissions you have saved in adopting this system.

Of course, as with all new technologies, there will be early adopters keen to reap the benefits, but the leisure industry stands to be at the top of the league table when it comes to making a huge saving through this technology. So what are you waiting for?

If you have any questions about thermodynamics, the RHI or any other energy management related matter, contact The Energy Desk on +44 (0)800 3777 889

[email protected]
www.theenergydesk.co.uk

Thermodynamic Solar Power

Ask TED, The Energy Desk’s specialist help desk, answers your questions

Can photovoltaics and thermodynamic systems be installed in tandem?
The short answer to this is yes. If you have a high electricity use, you can install photovoltaics (PV) to produce electricity from the sun. Alongside these you can install a thermodynamic system, which will heat your water 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year at temperatures above -14 degrees celsius. So a combination of the two can result in savings on both electricity and gas or oil.

If I install a thermodynamic system, will I still need my old boiler?
As thermodynamic systems are designed to work around the clock, you will no longer need to utilise a traditional boiler powered by gas or oil to heat your water. However, your boiler will remain to provide heating. You could then go one step further and install a biomass boiler to heat your space, making your traditional boiler obsolete. There are a lot of renewable heat technologies out there and a combination of different systems can work well.

If thermodynamic panels don't need to be put on my roof, where can I put them?
Although the panels don’t need to go on the roof, they can. The beauty of the system is that the panels can be installed on the roof, on the side of a building or on the ground outside, but they work at their best on the south elevation. This means that they can be hidden away and you don’t need planning permission to install them.

Do the panels need maintenance?
The systems are very robust and self-cleaning which is of particular advantage considering that they are outside. The systems come with a 20-year guarantee and maintenance is almost nonexistent.

How long does it take to install a thermodynamic system?
This very much depends on the size of the system. For domestic installations, it can take one day. For larger systems for commercial use, installation can take anything from two days up to seven days, but your water heating will not be disrupted during installation and the switch over to your new system is very simple.

 



The Energy Desk
 


www.shutterstock.com
Thermodynamic Solar Power
 
The latest generation of solar power, It’s great news for the leisure industry Credit: www.shutterstock.com
The latest generation of solar power, It’s great news for the leisure industry Credit: www.shutterstock.com
The latest generation of solar power can use the sun’s energy to generate power even on a cloudy day Credit: www.shutterstock.com
 


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SELECTED ISSUE
Leisure Management
2012 issue 4

View issue contents

Leisure Management - A ray of sunshine

Energy

A ray of sunshine


The latest generation of solar power can use the sun’s energy to generate power even on a cloudy day. It’s great news for the leisure industry, explains the Energy Desk’s Laura-Clare Davies

A ray of sunshine www.shutterstock.com
The latest generation of solar power, It’s great news for the leisure industry www.shutterstock.com
The latest generation of solar power, It’s great news for the leisure industry www.shutterstock.com
The latest generation of solar power can use the sun’s energy to generate power even on a cloudy day www.shutterstock.com

As the hottest topic in renewable energy solutions to emerge in the past 12 months, interest in the Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) is on the rise and so it should be. As explained in the last issue of Leisure Management, RHI is a financial incentive scheme that guarantees cashback payments for 20 years on the installation of renewable heat technologies. The scheme is designed to ensure that your benefits are two-fold; firstly you save money by producing your own energy, reducing your need for gas or oil; secondly, you get paid a fixed rate for the heat you generate.

So the big question now is what pieces of kit are out there that tick all the boxes for the RHI? The trick is in realising that different equipment will vary in terms of its compatibility with different sites, depending on where the majority of a building’s energy use sits. For example, leisure buildings rely a lot on air conditioning and water heating systems. Thankfully most technologies in the RHI scheme are used for heating and cooling, so from the outset, the leisure industry has a competitive advantage.

EVOLUTIONS IN RENEWABLE HEAT TECHNOLOGY
The renewable energy technology market is constantly evolving.

Solar panels or photovoltaics (PV), for example, have long been an established means of generating renewable energy via the sun’s direct heat source, and they have been adopted by domestic and commercial users up and down the country for the past decade. However, although these traditional solar power systems have proved viable in terms of producing electricity, they do rely on sunlight, which is something of an elusive commodity in some places.

This leads us on to thermodynamic solar panels (TSPs), the next generation in solar power.

Thermodynamic solar panels work in exactly the same way as conventional solar panels, insofar as they utilise the sun’s power and convert it to thermal energy to heat water, but with one very big difference. The sun doesn’t need to be out for the panels to operate. Sounds too good to be true, doesn’t it? Trust us, it’s not. The key word here is ‘dynamic’. The panels are activated by the surrounding ambient temperature, whether the sun is out or not.

So rather than restricting energy production to hours of the day with direct sunlight, TSPs generate heat from the atmosphere during the day and continue through the night, heating water to 55 degrees celsius. Generating energy 24 hours a day, 365 days a year is pretty impressive and these thermodynamic systems operate down to a minimum ambient temperature of -15 degrees celsius, which is of particular benefit if you're plagued by disappointing summers. What’s more, unlike conventional solar panels, TSPs don’t necessarily need to be placed on your roof. These systems can be installed anywhere on a building, meaning they can work with the overall aesthetics of a building.

MAKING THERMODYNAMIC SOLAR POWER WORK Thermodynamic solar power is very new to many markets and its innovative capabilities and overall efficiency will make this technology a big seller in the renewable heat sector. Installing this system will not only reduce your requirement for traditional water heating systems, it will also achieve guaranteed savings of a minimum of 30 per cent. For a leisure centre with heated pools and continually flowing showers, the savings will be huge.

And if that wasn’t enough, the technology qualifies for the Renewable Heat Incentive, which is undoubtedly its biggest advantage. If you choose to be among commercial energy users to pioneer this technology, applying to RHI should most definitely be a priority. Through the RHI, you will get paid a fixed amount on the heat energy you generate, and if you consider yourself a green champion, you can also sit back and relax at the thought of the significant carbon emissions you have saved in adopting this system.

Of course, as with all new technologies, there will be early adopters keen to reap the benefits, but the leisure industry stands to be at the top of the league table when it comes to making a huge saving through this technology. So what are you waiting for?

If you have any questions about thermodynamics, the RHI or any other energy management related matter, contact The Energy Desk on +44 (0)800 3777 889

[email protected]
www.theenergydesk.co.uk

Thermodynamic Solar Power

Ask TED, The Energy Desk’s specialist help desk, answers your questions

Can photovoltaics and thermodynamic systems be installed in tandem?
The short answer to this is yes. If you have a high electricity use, you can install photovoltaics (PV) to produce electricity from the sun. Alongside these you can install a thermodynamic system, which will heat your water 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year at temperatures above -14 degrees celsius. So a combination of the two can result in savings on both electricity and gas or oil.

If I install a thermodynamic system, will I still need my old boiler?
As thermodynamic systems are designed to work around the clock, you will no longer need to utilise a traditional boiler powered by gas or oil to heat your water. However, your boiler will remain to provide heating. You could then go one step further and install a biomass boiler to heat your space, making your traditional boiler obsolete. There are a lot of renewable heat technologies out there and a combination of different systems can work well.

If thermodynamic panels don't need to be put on my roof, where can I put them?
Although the panels don’t need to go on the roof, they can. The beauty of the system is that the panels can be installed on the roof, on the side of a building or on the ground outside, but they work at their best on the south elevation. This means that they can be hidden away and you don’t need planning permission to install them.

Do the panels need maintenance?
The systems are very robust and self-cleaning which is of particular advantage considering that they are outside. The systems come with a 20-year guarantee and maintenance is almost nonexistent.

How long does it take to install a thermodynamic system?
This very much depends on the size of the system. For domestic installations, it can take one day. For larger systems for commercial use, installation can take anything from two days up to seven days, but your water heating will not be disrupted during installation and the switch over to your new system is very simple.

 



The Energy Desk
 


www.shutterstock.com
Thermodynamic Solar Power
 

Originally published in Leisure Management 2012 issue 4

Published by The Leisure Media Company Ltd Portmill House, Portmill Lane, Hitchin, Herts SG5 1DJ. Tel: +44 (0)1462 431385 | Contact us | About us | © Cybertrek Ltd