Case Study: NEP Solar is a leading developer and supplier of concentrating solar thermal collectors for industrial processes, solar cooling and cogeneration. NEP Solar’s PolyTrough collectors generate heat at up to 400° C at high efficiency and at competitive cost. Being able to be roof top mounted allows the NEP Solar solution to be integrated into otherwise unused area.
The roof of the Emmi Tête de Moine cheese factory in picturesque Saignelégier, which is at an elevation of 1,000m in Switzerland’s Jura mountain range, is now covered with 627m2 of concentrating solar mirrors in the form of 17 NEP Solar PolyTrough 1,800 collectors. The sun tracking concentrated solar solution was awarded a 2013 Swiss Solar Award.
On sunny summer days, the collectors can generate up to 360 kW of concentrated solar energy. This heats a fluid that is used to provide process heat directly to the plant, meeting over 50% of the daily heat demand of the dairy process. Provided in the form of thermal energy rather than electricity, the energy can be directly used for the plant’s process heat requirements without loss through conversion. This achieves 60% efficiency, significantly higher when compared to conversion to electrical energy, and allows excess heat captured to be stored for use when the sun is not shining.