Published: 1st November 2011


The use of the sun to heat hot water is a very attractive proposition, especially in an industry where a large proportion of the hot water used is in the summer months. While we are all interested in going green, the payback often dampens our enthusiasm. The two drivers of payback are energy saved and installation costs. None of us can control the amount of sunshine we enjoy but the cost of a solar installation can be significantly reduced if a modular system is selected instead of a bespoke installation.

Bespoke installations have four or five major components that need to be installed and connected by a qualified solar engineer. Each installation is different due to the type of panel mounting required, the location of the storage tank and back up boiler. All of this adds to the cost of the total system. An additional drawback for a caravan holiday home or park home is the lack of available space inside the home for the storage tank, expansion vessel, pump, pipe work and controls.

A modular system is an entire system within a single housing where all the key components are already connected. Morco Products have been looking for such a system for some years and by using the technical expertise of the Spanish Fagor Group, believe that this specification has now been met. The system is designed to work with combination boilers and instantaneous water heaters. If the water leaving the panel is hot enough it passes directly to the shower, if it needs heat adding it passes through the boiler, and if the water is too hot, cold water is blended in. These functions are carried out by a small valve mounted under the boiler which is the only component external to the system housing. The storage capacity of the panel is 150 litres which is enough for 2-3 five minute showers in addition to hot water at the kitchen sink or bathroom tap. During warm weather the stored water will be hotter than that required for showering and hence the number of showers is increased by the necessity to blend in cold water.

For ground mounted panels the installer simply connects mains cold water to one side of the panel and a hot take off to the other. Roof mounting the panel is achieved using a lightweight aluminium frame but the plumbing connection remains just as simple. The modular nature of the panel means it can be easily disconnected from a home prior to sale and reconnected to a new home on the same plot. Independent tests in the UK have confirmed the efficiency of the panel is comparable to the best domestic systems currently available.

The system is currently installed in France on a number of hire fleets where the warmer weather allows one panel to supply sufficient hot water for two homes. The operators report the number of bottles of gas used in a season being reduced by 90%.

Morco believe that the system will be of interest to a number of sectors within the industry. Firstly, hire fleets, with their high water and gas consumption, make the system attractive and systems will shortly be on long term test with a major UK hire fleet operator to assess the energy saving credentials.

Secondly the system should appeal as a retrofit to privately owned homes. Lastly Morco believe the ever increasing pressure on planning applications to show green credentials make such a system a useful tool with which to persuade planners.

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Registered Address: Morco Products Ltd, Morco House, Riverview Road, Beverley, East Yorkshire, HU17 0LD

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