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Solar Energy



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 system 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 technical problems.

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 well. 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 as possible.

Name and type of project Sun for Bile Karpaty, 
Solar water heating on private and public houses
Starting year 1997-1998
Overall costs of the project about 44,000 EUR
Energy amount saved 2,000 kWh/household, more for each public building, in total 40 systems
New local jobs 0, mainly self-built systems
Contact person

att. Yvonna Gaillyova
Ecology Institute Veronica,
Dum ochrancu prirody, Panska 9, 602 00 Brno, Czech Republic.
Fax: +420-5-42210561, Ph.: +420-5-42218353
E-mail:, web: