Since 2016, the roof of the 207-room luxury Vineyard Hotel, in Claremont, Cape Town, is covered with Solarus hybrid solar PowerCollectors. The system using 60 unique innovative solar collectors meets the hotel’s year round high demand for hot tap water with a sustainable and positive business case, cutting down operational costs significantly with zero footprint energy supply. Another important element for the Vineyard Hotel to choose for Solarus PowerCollector was the limited roof space needed. As both heat and electricity are provided in a single unit, this provides significant space-saving advantages. Furthermore, the hybrid system is more efficient than side-by-side units. The current system convinced the 4-star South African hotel to add another 100 PowerCollectors. They are currently in the process of installing this second system.
“There have been many attempts by companies and research institutions to combine the benefits of both PV (Photo voltaic) and T (Thermal) in a single solar panel” explained , Solarus local representative and project manager.
“Achieving this combination has often been dubbed as the holy grail of solar. Solarus has successfully achieved this with our PowerCollector™, and we are now recognised as a leader in the field of hybrid solar (PVT) technology. We have won numerous international awards for both our technology as well as for the way we do business. “Solarus PowerCollector™ panels offer a unique benefit of being PVT – that is able to convert sunlight to electricity as a normal photovoltaic (PV) panel and also to provide hot water as a normal solar water heater (T) in one integrated panel. The introduction of the hybrid solar system has the potential to both reduce the Vineyard’s current and future energy costs while adding security of supply in the maintenance of the hotel’s hot water supply” said Brand.
Improve energy efficiency
“The Vineyard Hotel and sister properties – Townhouse in downtown Cape Town and Oude Werf in Stellenbosch – are committed to continuously improving the levels of energy efficiency, especially where energy can be sourced from renewable sources,” says Director strategic business innovation . “Our target was to increase our storage and conversion of solar energy and to produce thermal energy – for heating water, for example.
“The space-saving solution offered by the Solarus hybrid system is highly efficient on our limited roof space, making this system an attractive choice for the Vineyard Hotel and for supplementing an existing solar PV system. We hope that the success of the project will encourage other hotels to follow suit” he said.
Research and Development
Today’s incarnation of the Solarus PowerCollector™ panel represents the culmination of a ten year research and development programme initiated by European energy giant Vattenfall in collaboration with Swedish research institutions and companies including Uppsala and Lund Universities and the Swedish Energy Agency. The result is a panel that boasts 70% solar efficiency without the degradation of its PV properties due to high surface temperatures. Its receiver is able to effectively and uniformly cool the solar cells allowing them to work efficiently under concentrated sunlight through its patented Active Cell Cooling technology.
“The Solarus vision is not simply profit motivated – we subscribe to the principles of B(enefit) Corp and Blue Economy and the Solarus PVT panel is the ultimate in sustainability – using the free energy from the sun to power human development. Using electricity to heat water is inherently inefficient, is wasteful, and creates pollution and tons of harmful CO2 through the burning of fossil fuels.”