New Zealand’s largest solar water heating system installed at Springhill

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Azzuro Solar has just finished commissioning a solar array of 36 evacuated tube collector panels for the roof of the new Springhill Corrections Facility, making it the single largest solar water heating system site in New Zealand.

The solar water heating system designed for Springhill Corrections Facility, south of Auckland, boasts 126sq m of compound parabolic concentrator solar collectors which are more than 3sq m each and provide a working collector area of 108sq m.

Azzuro Solar general manager Dana Darwin says the solar array will offset 41% of the water heating for one of the large accommodation blocks at the prison.

“In peak conditions, the solar water heating system at Springhill will generate 72 kilowatts of energy,” he says.

Government spokesperson for energy efficiency and Greens co-leader Jeanette Fitzsimons says with climate change accelerating and energy prices rising, it makes sense to use the sun to heat prison water and reduce their carbon footprint.

“The Government promotes the uptake of solar water heating across public buildings, commercial buildings and residential houses as part of its commitment to sustainability,” she says.

“We need trials like this of very large commercial systems, which are more complex than those for single family homes and can potentially save large amounts of energy.

“It is good to see government buildings leading the way in demonstrating larger systems, and I look forward to the monitoring results.”

Department of Corrections energy manager Cees Ebskamp says the development of the new facility included a strong focus on sustainability and energy efficiency.

“As a government leader in the adoption of sustainability, the Department of Corrections took a “whole of life” approach to investing in energy efficiency technologies for this new prison, which could be in use for 100 years.

“The Department will be assessing the performance of the array on the Springhill site as we pursue the most efficient solutions to meet our energy needs,” he says.