Crowding at the start button: The new collector production unit of Sun Master in Upper Austria opened on 22 January. Photo: Sun Master
The Austrian absorber and collector manufacturer Sun Master Energiesysteme GmbH has big plans for the future. “Our goal for 2009 is 200,000 m²,” says managing director Gerhard Rimpler. To meet growing demand, the company group Xolar, to which Sun Master belongs, invested €24 million in a manufacturing and office complex in Eberstalzell near Linz in Upper Austria.
Sun Master invested an additional €2.8 million in new machinery. A second laser welding machine will be set up in Eberstalzell in a few weeks. The company manufactures ultrasonic welded copper absorbers as well as laser welded aluminium absorbers. More than 150 types of OEM collectors - OEM means panels are sold under another brand name - will be produced in the new halls. Among them will be collectors with aluminium or wooden frames or aluminium tray collectors. 2008 was the most successful year for the company so far. It produced collectors with a surface of 160,000m², which translates into a growth rate of 58%.
Everything is new: For the newly constructed office and production building near Linz in Austria the collector manufacturer Sun Master has also designed a fresh logo.
Photo: Sun Master
Not only the goal of the company is an impressive one but also the production building itself, as it is a low energy house with an energy consumption of less than 1 kWh/m². “The building exhausts all possibilities to use energy in an efficient way,” says Xolar managing director and founder Herbert Huemer.
1,100 m² of collector area are installed on its shed roof. Solar energy that was gained, but not used during the summer months is stored in the ground plate below the 20,000 m² big building for seasonal shortages. A pellet boiler functions as a backup for heating demand in winter times. Collectors are mounted in a way that they provide shade to the windows of the shed roof in summer. An absorption chiller helps cooling the building during hot days additionally. Compared to a conventional industry building, it is saving 1,100 tons of CO2 per year.
The text was written by Joachim Berner, a Munich-based journalist and solar thermal expert.