A new solar water heating system consisting of 220 flat plate collectors, as well as six air-to-water heat pumps used as backup energy supply, came into operation in Colombia’s capital Bogotá on 2 October. The system, installed on the roof of Hospital Universitario Mayor Méderi, has reportedly cut energy demand for heating water at this private facility by 70 %. Per day, the system heats 40,000 litres of water to 55 °C to meet demand from the patients rooms and other services in the 802-bed hospital. The USD 250,000 investment was financed via a low-interest loan by Banco de Comercio Exterior de Colombia (Bancóldex).
Photo: Módulo Solar
According to a press release by Mexican-based collector manufacturer Módulo Solar, the existing hot water installation was inefficient, so hospital management started looking for a retrofit solution that could lower energy costs. It asked the Colombian company UT Solar Solution Group to implement the project. UT Solar subcontracted CLER and Prosolar to do the job, two Módulo Solar partners based in Colombia. While Módulo Solar designed, built and delivered the solar collectors, the two partners provided on-site technical support and carried out the installation.
The backup systems, six air-water heat pumps, use an eco-friendly refrigerant called R410A and have a capacity of 20.4 kW each. Combining solar thermal collectors and heat pumps is a good solution, as Colombia’s electric generation capacity is mostly comprised of clean sources of energy. In all, 70 % of it comes from hydropower plants. In addition, the installation is equipped with an advanced online control and monitoring system that allows real-time verification of temperatures and energy yields, as well as automated operation.
Project coordinators and hospital representatives attending the final workshop
Photo: Módulo Solar
“It took about a year to develop the idea, get financing from Bancóldex and install the system,” said Daniel García, CEO of Módulo Solar. Bancóldex has been funding renewable projects which mitigate GHG emissions in Colombia and help fight climate change. It provides the financial product and the technical project validation to guarantee that systems will bring about projected savings and energy efficiency. The validation of this particular project involved the inspection of the system and a review of its technical specifications and energy performance, as well as an analysis of the underlying financial model. International standards, such as ISO 9806, were used as a reference point for solar collectors and their performance, since Colombia has no national standards in this area.
Organisations mentioned in this article:
Méderi hospital: https://www.mederi.com.co
Módulo Solar: http://www.modulosolar.com.mx