Solar Heating in the Hostetin Biosphere Reserve, Czech Republic
Solar Collector Construction in Hostetin
An Active, Environmental Area
in White Carpatians
Hostetin, a small village in east
Moravia, is situated in the protected area of Bile Karpaty (White Carpatians).
The area was proclaimed the Biospheric reserve of UNESCO in 1996. Since 1994,
the village has been taking an active part in a number of environmental development
projects, such as a sewage works, an apple-juice plant, an old, wooden, fruit-dryer
plant reconstruction, a bio-mass heating plant and, particularly, the installation
of solar equipment. The projects are carried out by the village administration,
as well as environmental associations, especially those like Veronica, which
is an ecology institute and a member of the Czech Union for Nature Conservation.
Solar Projects Since 1997
The first solar collectors
appeared on buildings in Hostetin in July 1997, when the residents participated
actively in the mounting. One of the first private houses was equipped
with a water-meter and an electronic thermometer, in order to collect data
on hot water and the amount of energy generated after the introduction
of the system. According to these efficiency measurements, annual
energy savings mounted to 2.000 kWh per one system unit.
Later on, each solar
in Hostetin was equipped with a simple meter to measure the temperature
of the water. This turned out to be very practical because local
women discussed and compared the temperature of the water generated by
their solar collector whenever they met in the local store or elsewhere. They
envied the neighbour who had the highest temperature of hot water. During the
morning, this is common for buildings situated to the east.
In the very beginning, they used to call an expert to check the system,
because one household had a temperature of water five degrees lower than
the other, but these frivolous concerns helped remove different kinds of
Many Self-built Systems
In 1998, Veronica started
a new project called "Sun for Bile Karpaty". The project aims at
offering the possibility of building and mounting the solar system on a
do-it-yourself basis. Financial support covering 50% of the total cost
of the system was approved for 15 buildings, but thanks to enthusiastic
public response many other installations were realised without any support.
In 1999, the project "Sun for Bile Karpaty" focused primarily on the installation
of solar collectors on public buildings, while developing educational activities.
So far, around 40 installations on public and private houses have been
realised within the area of Bile Karpaty, out of which 10 systems are on
private houses in Hostetin. In the summer of 2001, a big solar system
(36 m2 ) using advanced TiNOX technology, was installed on the roof of
an apple juice plant. The installation was completed in three days
with help from the Austrian organisation ARGE Erneuerbare Energie. The
solar collector, which provides heat and hot water, was fastened in a wooden
frame and in this way replaced roofing tiles.
It goes without saying
that some problems and mistakes appeared during the realisation of the
project. At present, however, all solar systems in Hostetin are functioning
The project showed that cheap equipment is not suitable for everybody,
but just for people who are really interested in participating in the installation
and understand the system quite well. During the project, Veronica published
a handbook describing mounting and maintenance of solar systems and also
organised a number of seminars and training sessions.
Living With the Sun
It has always been a tradition
for village people to live according to nature; even nowadays women in
Hostetin wash laundry following a sunny day. If there is not enough sun
they postpone the washing to the next day. This example shows very
well how people have learned to live and use the installed system as effectively