Kingspan Renewables’ Thermomax solar thermal vacuum tubes, has been supplied to a multi-million pound new build development at Nottingham Trent University is benefiting from a major installation of 3960 in what is one of the UK’s largest-ever solar thermal projects.

Completed towards the end of 2011, the new student accommodation at Clifton Campus was built using the University Partnerships Programme’s (UPP) Eco Residence Model for sustainable development to considerably cut carbon emissions and meet strict government targets. To achieve this, while servicing the hot water needs of its 727 students, Notts-based solar firm, MG Renewables, specified 132 Thermomax solar thermal vacuum tube collectors, covering more than 6,000ft2 across the roofs of 12 accommodation blocks.

The Thermomax collectors are now delivering the university campus 33,000 litres of hot water a day, while lowering energy bills and providing a reduction in CO2 emissions of 61 tonnes a year.

MG Renewables’ company directors, Martin Dowd and Gerry Kennedy, are both highly satisfied with the results of the installation. Dowd said, “We are delighted to have been involved in this project, providing and installing Kingspan’s Thermomax solar vacuum tubes for one of the largest installations undertaken in the UK to date. We launched MG Renewables five years ago when most people thought of solar power as science fiction. That’s all changed now, as more and more people and institutions wake up to the benefits of renewable energy.”

Business partner Kennedy added, “People are becoming increasingly passionate about reducing their carbon footprint and government incentives now mean there are financial drivers too. People think the weather in the UK and Ireland isn’t suitable for solar power to work well, but that is a myth. Solar energy systems such as Kingspan’s Thermomax work even on overcast days.”

Thermomax vacuum tube collectors are specifically tailored for Northern European climates and transfer solar energy into heat, providing up to 70% of the university campus’s hot water requirements throughout the year. The vacuum inside each tube provides insulation by protecting the system from outside influences, such as cold, wet or windy weather, resulting in quality performance all year round. The vacuum tubes also allow energy from the sun to be collected efficiently and effectively, so that solar heated water is always readily available.

Kingspan Renewables managing director, Cameron Holroyd, added, “With the RHI now firmly underway, there has never been a better time to invest in solar thermal technology and the substantial carbon reduction savings provided by Thermomax means organisations participating in the CRC Energy Efficiency Scheme can also significantly reduce their mandatory payments to the government to cover emissions.”