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Botswana: Gaborone Sun to harness sun for hot water

The Gaborone Sun has become the first hotel in Botswana - as well as the first hotel in the Sun International hotel group - to harness solar power for its hot water requirements.
The fully fledged solar power system with a backup diesel boiler was recently successfully commissioned by Johannesburg-based solar power specialists, Home Comfort. Omnibus Engineering provided the design and sub-contracting services. The system is the biggest solar heating system installed at any hotel on the African continent.

The installation comprises 176 flat plate solar panels, each measuring 2m X 1m, effectively creating a 352 m2 solar collector providing an installed capacity of 225 kW - the biggest solar powered system in Botswana. The panels feature a 345 kW heat exchanger equipped with a drain-back system to eliminate freezing and high maintenance.

The solar collectors are imported from Sunda Solar Energy Technology in China, which manufactures them under license to Daimler Benz aerospace in Germany, with reference to international standards. Most of the remaining equipment is manufactured in South Africa.

The Gaborone Sun project included a vertical hot water storage tank with a specially designed stratification system, capable of storing 25,500 litres. The accompanying 233 kW backup diesel boiler has been optimally designed to yield a 90% efficiency.

The system will yield 283,5 MW hours of renewable energy per annum and has been configured to deliver more energy in the cooler months of the year. On a yearly basis 379,21 tons of carbon dioxide, 57,321.91 kg of ash, 3,505.46 kg of sulphur dioxide and 1,569.74 kg of nitrogen oxide are avoided.

Sun International's Gaborone Sun hotel, casino and conference centre enjoys a virtually uninterrupted fully booked status all year round and must generate in the region of 24,200 litres of hot water per day. "Historically, we've relied on coal-fired boilers to generate our hot water requirements," says Gaborone Sun's General Manager, Lance Rossouw. "However, with our boilers rapidly approaching the end of their service lives, we took an executive decision to replace them with the environmentally friendly alternative of solar power. "Since the installation went live, it's been a real weight off our shoulders not having to worry about coal supply and storage - not to mention the environmental implications of burning coal. An unexpected benefit has also been the new system's efficiency in terms of temperature. Our average hot water temperature has increased from a previous 45°C up to 70 °C.

Additional information:
News date: 13/02/2009

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