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inn nova scotia - canada
This is a real case. The case is herein presented to illustrate the use and benefit of solar water heater in a commercial facility located in a very cold weather region.
This profile uses solar water heater at a small inn in Canada located in North River, Nova Scotia. The inn operates year-round, most guests during the spring, summer and fall.
The building consumes no fossil fuels on site and depends upon solar energy with electricity backup for space and water heating. An in-floor radiant heating system also provides space heating for the inn.
The Solar Decision
The owner wants to save energy and contribute to the environment:
- The inn would provide a healthy environment for her guests, with no fossil fuels consumed on site.
- The inn would fit in with environmental concerns about the depletion of fossil fuels.
- The owner would consider power self-generation at the site in the future.
The Canadian agency Natural Resources Canada's Renewable Energy Deployment Initiative (REDI)contribute with 25 percent of the purchase and installation costs of the solar hot water system.
The system includes 16 flat-plate and two 12-volt solar electric (photovoltaic) collectors. Note that by the time the system was installed, evacuated tube solar collectors were not available in Canada. Evacuated tube solar collectors would be a better option than flat-plate solar collectors due to the colder weather in the region. However, the flat-plate collector worked just fine due to the quality design of the system. The collectors are located on the south roof and are mounted at a 35 slope with an azimuth of 10 west of south. The two photovoltaic collectors supply power to the system's water pump. Extra trusses were installed to ensure that the roof could support the additional load of the solar panels. This is a close-loop system using glycol as heat exchanger to avoid fluid freeze inside the collectors. The glycol piping runs down to the basement through the roof and walls. A rubber boot was installed around the piping on the roof to prevent water leaks. The mechanical equipment is located in the basement next to the in-floor radiant heating equipment.
The total project cost was $36,700. With REDI's 25-percent contribution, the cost was reduced by approximately $9,100 for a net total of $27,600.
Operating and Maintenance Experience
The system is in its first year of operation. The solar collectors were partially covered with snow in January, which is unusual for an average Nova Scotia winter. The snow cover made the collectors less effective, but this had few implications since the inn operates at minimal capacity during the winter, and only one of the four electric backup water heaters was being used.
The reduced solar capacity during the winter should not affect the overall performance during the prime season (April to October). Should more guests arrive in the winter, then we have to investigate increasing the collectors' angle to 45 to reduce the snow cover. Usually, flat-plate solar collectors can clear themselves of snow once a small part of the glass is exposed to sunlight. Still, the 35 angle for the collectors is close to ideal for summer operations, so changing the angle is fundamentally an operating decision. Since the owner is concerned about the snow cover during much of the winter, he is examining the best way to keep the panels clear.
The owner is very satisfied with the installation and operation of her solar system. "The sound of the solar pumps operating, even on gray days, is lovely," he says.
Most solar heating systems should have an annual scheduled maintenance, as it will affect the long-term performance and benefit of the system.