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Holiday park puts solar hot water system to the test

solar hot water system to the test
An Apricus sun-powered hot water system installed at the Lakeview Holiday park in Wanaka produced 45,800 kilowatt hours of energy in the past 12 months.

Using the sun to heat water for showers isn’t a new concept, but new technologies are making it more efficient, user friendly and affordable.

Thousands of families and businesses have been making savings with solar thanks to Apricus NZ, a leading innovator which has been designing high performance and reliable solar hot water systems to withstand New Zealand’s extreme environmental conditions since 2003.

This has been supported by a relentless focus on quality and continual improvement by the international team at Apricus Global.

“A solar hot water system will reduce your carbon footprint without having to change your lifestyle,” says Apricus NZ managing director Marcus Baker.

He believes we all have a responsibility to reduce our consumption of nonrenewable fossil fuels. Marcus and his family live off-the-grid relying completely on renewable technologies, solar hot water and solar PV.

Knowing first-hand the importance of having high quality and reliable solar technology, Marcus is living the lifestyle he endorses. “The tourism industry in particular is an enormous user of hot water,” he says.

Hotels, holiday parks and backpacker accommodations can benefit from the system which not only saves them in running costs, and copes with extremes of temperature with zero risk from frost, but also gives “feel good” benefits in sustainability.

They experience high peak demands for hot water during the busy summer months when solar radiation is at its highest, with the main peaks occurring over a few hours in morning and evening.

May Plumbing and Gas working with their client Lakeview Holiday Park in Wanaka, installed an Apricus sun-powered hot water system at the park’s new ablutions block in December 2016, just in time for the busy summer visitor season.

The holiday park has enormous demands for hot water with up to 12,000 litres used in any one day during the summer peak.

Up to 1000 guests can stay at the park at one time, with the new building catering for up to 750 of them. “Central Otago has some of the best solar radiation in the country. The intensity of sunlight means our solar hot water system performs extremely well,” says Marcus.

He says that while plants photosynthesising can work at about one to two per cent efficiency and solar electric systems (known as solar PV or photo voltaic) can produce around 12 to 18 per cent efficiency, the Apricus solar hot water system using evacuated tubes can harvest 65 percent of solar energy, converting it directly into hot water.

“This is extremely efficient and appropriate technology,” he says. For heating water, solar thermal is the best; “it does it so well, and so reliably – even in winter.”

“If you own or manage a business that uses large amounts of hot water such as a hotel, retirement village, brewery, solar water heating can make a significant dent in your direct costs.

The savings go straight to your bottom line.” Smart controller and web monitoring gives users important performance data.

In the past 12 months the Lakeview Holiday Park system has produced 45,800 kilowatt hours of energy.

“That equates to more than 11 tonnes of carbon dioxide that hasn’t been emitted into the atmosphere,” says Marcus. Or to put it in context the savings are enough to run a typical New Zealand home for more than five-and-a-half years.

Marcus says installing an Apricus system in the home or business will pay for itself in power bill savings within six to eight years, whilst the system will have a life-span of more than 20 years.

“That means free hot water for more than a decade after the initial payback.  This will be quicker as power prices continue to increase.”

Meanwhile all of the components are completely recyclable at end of life because they are made of copper, aluminium and steel.

“A solar water heating system clearly illustrates to your customers that you are taking environmental sustainability seriously and have put in place measures to control costs for the long term.”

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