Product / system supply
East of England
Cambridge City Council
Thermomax DF100 evacuated tubes
Cambridge City Council wanted to reduce energy use and lower the carbon footprint of the city’s Abbey Pools, two indoor heated swimming pools, including one 25-metre pool and a smaller 15-metre learner pool.
The designated installers, Suffolk-based Sustain Services, initially explored installing solar PV panels. However, after comparing the energy and financial savings that could be delivered by both types of panels, the decision was taken to switch to installing solar thermal.
Kingspan Solar’s specification team designed a system using 40 Thermomax DF100-30 solar thermal vacuum tube collectors, covering 120 sqm of roof area, to supply solar heated water for both pools. Specifically designed and manufactured to operate in Northern European climates, Thermomax collectors use vacuum technology to deliver an unrivalled transfer of solar energy into heat.
It wasn’t just the inherent efficiency of the system which appealed, but its relative ease of installation. The original plan for fixing the solar thermal panels had been to mount them on A-frames facing south to maximise their absorption of solar energy. By contrast, the Thermomax tubes are mounted in a modular system, which are far simpler and cheaper to install. The modular system can easily be fitted by a single operator and each tube was just twisted to face south, negating the need for A-frames. The ease of manoeuvring and man-handling the tubes during installation also reduced health and safety risks for the contractor.
By the end of June 2013, little more than three weeks after work started, the entire system installation - including the connecting pipework to the boiler - was complete and delivering heated water to the swimming pools.
Early results have showed enormous energy savings - surpassing the initial T*SOL predictions, which suggested annual savings of around 85,000kWh, equating to financial savings (including the RHI) of more than £8,000 (based on actual readings taken in July 2013). Although the hot summer of 2013 has undeniably boosted the system’s performance.
Richard Secular at Sustain Services says: “The system went live in late April 2013 and during the summer months has sustained pool temperatures without recourse to the existing gas boilers.
“Cambridge City Council has now successfully applied and been approved for the Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI), and we are currently exploring additional solar sites for CCC to help them achieve their carbon management target.”