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Solar Thermal Energy in the Hospitality Industry

Clique Solar shares with Ecoconstruction India’s readers the installation of solar thermal system at ITC Hotel in New Delhi. In addition, Ecoconstruction India chats with  Clique Solar to understand more details.


Situation Analysis
With rise in awareness levels about the renewable sources of energy, people are becoming more and more eco-sensitive. Some of them are even interested to find
out what energy sources does a hotel use and what amount of harmful gases it emits in the atmosphere. So as consumers demand more eco-friendly vacation choices, the tourism industry must respond with energy-efficient resorts and hotels.
In providing a large variety of services, luxury, comfort, entertainment and products, the hospitality industry consumes enormous amount of energy. A large part of this energy is in thermal form & is still supplied by fossil fuels. Different approaches can be taken in attempting to combine healthy economic returns with
environmentally responsible activities.


What can be done?
Today there are several solutions for hotels which are ready to think green, are visionary and are ready to invest in the future of their business as well as the global environment. Adapting to renewable sources of energy is one of the most beneficial and sensible long-term decisions that any company can take. A large portion of the energy needs in a hotel can be catered to by proven solar technologies. The use of an appropriate solar technology for various applications can have a positive impact on the Indian energy and environmental scenario. Clique Solar has developed patented ARUN® dish for industrial process heating and comfort cooling applications. The pioneer in the industry: ITC, The Maurya In India, ITC, The Maurya has set an example by pioneering the successful use of solar technology for satisfying its thermal energy needs in laundry, cooking, bathing and other applications. ITC Limited is credited with being a pioneer in initiating a number of environment friendly changes. It is one of the few carbon positive companies in India. It is a classic example of ITC’s philosophy – when not many hotels in the world are even thinking of the negative impact they have on the environment, ITC is already reaping the benefits of solar energy for over two years now.

Clique Solar has installed 2 ARUN® dishes at ITC, The Maurya in New Delhi. This installation saves ITC an equivalent of almost 28,000-30,000 litres of fossil fuel (furnace oil) per annum. This has also resulted in a reduction in CO2 emissions by almost 120-130 tons per annum! The ARUN dish is a completely indigenous Solar Concentrator System developed by Clique Solar.

As is the case with pioneers, ITC, The Maurya faced several hurdles when it decided to go for the use of solar systems to reduce the use of polluting fuels. There was no precedent of any such installation. There were issues from economic feasibility to space constraints (being located in the heart of New Delhi). There were even more basic questions like the best application of such a solar system in a hotel keeping in mind the cost vs benefits and the integration requirement; how to hide such a system so as to maintain the aesthetic look of the hotel; and how to ensure that the system performs as promised, when many solar installations are either dysfunctional or operating at very low effeciencies.

After studying the various requirements and constraints of the hotel, and understanding how these can be technologically and economically met by harnessing solar energy, ITC, The Maurya concluded that the use of solar thermal concentrating systems for all their thermal requirements is most suitable.

• The two-dish ARUN system generates steam which is used for the hotel’s laundry, cooking and other heating requirements.

• One of these ARUN dishes is installed on top of the existing banquet hall, while the other ARUN dish is installed on ground in the backyard of the hotel with a footprint area of less than 3m x 3m.

• The civil engineering challenges were innovatively handled by Clique Solar.

• The ARUN dish tracks the sun from sunrise to sunset on two axes.

• Water circulates through the receiver coil which is placed at the focus of dish transferring the thermal energy from the sun to the circulating water and converting it to pressurized steam at 175°C at 8 bar(g).


Flow of Operation
The process of generating steam & hot water with the help of ARUN is as explained in the figure.
Step 1: At the start of the day, the Dish extracts water from the feed water tank to generate steam at 175°C and pressure of 5 to 8 bars.

Step 2: Steam delivery from dishes to various applications starts as soon as the required steam delivery pressure i.e. of 6 bars & 160°C is achieved.
Step 3: The steam is fed to the Common Header. It gets distributed to various applications from this common header. In the absence of sun, the existing boilers
are used to feed steam to the common header.
Due to the limited supplies, high cost and pollution problems associated with fossil fuels there is an urgent need to make use of renewable sources of energy to meet the thermal energy requirements in industries as well as for cooling. India is the place where large advances in the solar technologies for satisfying the thermal  energy needs of industries are taking place. The ARUN solar concentrator dish is a fine example of this. With government subsidies, the accelerated depreciation benefits, and the rising fuel prices, investment in such solar thermal systems has become economically attractive too!.


Clique chats with Ecoconstruction India > Installation data & details


What is the total capacity of the installation at ITC Maurya? Two number of ARUN160 dishes deliver about 1,400-1,500 kg/day of steam on average. Peak output is around 2,000 kg/day on a clear sunny day in New Delhi.

When was this installation done? The installation was commissioned in March 2010.

Could you explain the cost and benefit analysis (for the hotel) for this particular installation? The benefit is more than the monetary benefit alone.
• Since space availability was a constraint, we were not able to comply with the government regulation w.r.t the use of solar water heaters. But with each ARUN dish occupies less than 10sq.m. area, ITC could comply with the government regulations w.r.t use of solar for water heating.
• ITC has always strived to achieve the highest energy efficiency in all its hotels. ITC is proud of this fact and likes to communicate this to the audience through the various media. The ARUN dishes have contributed in helping ITC Maurya achieve the coveted LEED Platinum rating.

• The ARUN dishes help to save about 100-120 tons of CO2 per annum From purely monetary point of view, the payback period after including the government subsidy and accelerated depreciation is around 4-5 years. And the fuel saving benefits will continue to benefit for the entire system life of 25+ years.

What is the reaction of the hotel guests when they see the use of solar? We took utmost care that the aesthetic look of the hotel is not disturbed and decided to install the solar system in the backyard. Today many guests are impressed by the installations and request a closer look at the dish. The hotel guests also appreciate
the hotel’s commitment towards the environment.

2012/09/28 by Gloria Llopis