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   Solar Energy Ireland innovative energy systems
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Irish Solar Hot Water Technology
You know
That every home, commercial building, and industrial facility in Ireland and the rest of the world requires hot water. An enormous amount of energy is consumed in Ireland producing and maintaining our supply of on-demand hot water; the residential and commercial sectors combined use over 80% of  energy for space heating  and domestic hot water. This energy of course comes from burning fossil fuel and we all know what happens when we do that. Time to change the way we use oil. Oil is to valuable for burning.

Solar energy the fuel for the future

Solar energy is the mother of all renewable energy on earth. The potential in solar energy in Ireland and the rest of the planet lies in industrial applications, large-scale systems using flat-plate and trough-type collectors which are being installed in increasing numbers in schools, hospitals, prisons, commercial and industrial facilities across the EU countries. (Ireland is last on the list of EU members for installed solar thermal systems). As for residential applications, industrial-scale solar hot water systems are integrated with conventional hot water heaters, which ensures hot water will be available at all times. 

In northern Europe solar domestic water heating systems can meet up to 60 - 70% of the water heating needs of typical households  and up to 90% of the water heating needs of  households in southern Europe, in Ireland nearly 6 month free hot water not bad for free clean none polluting energy?

Initiatives for the future of solar energy in Ireland

To develop the Irish market for solar thermal heating, the EU-wide implementation of standards will be important, as will general promotion of the technology, lower or no V.A.T. rate (grants) on renewable energy systems.  Other measures required are the training and certification of installers and system designers, the implementation of third party financing and GSR options, the promotion of self-build groups, the demonstration of large-scale systems, and promotion programme introducing new technologies or concepts designed for space heating, cooling and industrial process heating.

Technology development needs include:
Technical and economic optimisation of systems.
Integration of systems into buildings and other structures.
Cost reduction of systems designed for space heating.
Development of combined systems designed for cooling.
Development of design assistance services.

Solar Thermal Heating

Solar thermal systems convert energy from the sun directly into heat through "passive" systems, or gather the solar energy and transfer it to a working fluid to heat water or air in "active" systems. Solar thermal installations are well suited to use as part of an overall energy conservation programme. This section covers "active" systems; "passive" systems and the integration of renewable are discussed in the building section.

The Technology

Active solar thermal systems comprise equipment such as solar collectors, storage tanks, pumps, piping, controllers etc. Solar thermal applications can be characterised by the size of the installation:

Small-scale systems: solar collectors are placed on or integrated into the roof, facade etc of individual dwellings or buildings for their private thermal energy consumption.
Large-scale systems: larger central arrays are combined or incorporated in group heating systems for the supply of multi-family buildings and/or district heating.

The Cost

The  costs of collectors are also important. Evacuated-tube collectors are substantially more expensive at 511,29 - 1278,23 /m² collector surface than flat-plate collectors at 153,34 to 613,55 /m² or even plastic absorbers for 25,60 to 102,26 /m². However, a good collector does not guarantee a good solar system. Rather, all components should be of high quality and similar capacity and strength. 
The current installation costs for a typical domestic hot water solar system can cost 1500-5500 depending on conditions at the site.

In Ireland with 21% V.A.T. on every part of the solar system, makes it one of the most expensive places to install a solar water heating system in the EU 

For climate-related reasons, prices of larger, more complex systems used in Northern and Central Europe will never fall as low as those used in Southern Europe. However, prices of the more complex and sophisticated systems are expected to rise continuously due to the energy cost involved producing the materials for those systems in the coming decade.






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Solar Energy Ireland 2003