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Archive for March, 2012

Solar Hot Water Heaters Work Well in Vermont

Thursday, March 29th, 2012

In the summer, solar hot water heaters in Vermont meet almost 100% of household hot water requirements; in the winter, about 30%. Here’s a real-world, real-time example.

It’s about 40ºF here in Colchester, Vermont on the morning of March 29th. Not a promising day for solar hot water heaters you might think. But you might be surprised.

Thanks to the wonders of electronics and the internet, we’re able to check in on one of our Sunward solar hot water heaters in Shelburne. It’s cold and cloudy in Shelburne too, but the system is working just fine, and has already raised the water temperature by 17ºF this morning.

That means less fuel oil used to provide hot water. Less carbon emitted. Less money spent on hot water.

For the month to date, this Sunward hot water heater has avoided 143 lbs of carbon dioxide emissions and saved $16 on oil bills. And fully 34% of the home’s hot water requirements have been provided by the sun.

Check it out for yourself. And check in frequently, especially on sunny days when the Sunward system meets almost all the home’s hot water requirements.

Want to heat your hot water with the sun? Check out Co-op Solar, our simple and affordable solar hot water program.

Up to 600 Solar Hot Water Heaters in Vermont?

Tuesday, March 27th, 2012

On March 15, we began offering Co-op Solar, our simple and affordable solar hot water program. Now I find myself looking at our built environment in new ways.

Before we launched Co-op Solar, I noticed things like home size, design, aesthetics, gardens and landscapes. Now, I’m focused on roofs and yards.

Does that roof face to the south? Is it large enough for a solar hot water heater? Will those trees shade the roof? Or, that roof faces west, but there’s a nice sunny yard to the south of the house. Looks like that’s a great site for a ground-mounted solar hot water heater.

Our drivers and service technicians now carry compasses. After each oil delivery or service call, they take a couple of minutes to see if the home is suitable for a Co-op Solar installation.

We’ve also used Google Earth to evaluate solar potential at our members’ homes in Burlington, Colchester, Essex, Essex Junction, South Burlington, Williston and Winooski. We found about 600 homes that were well-suited for solar hot water heaters.

Let’s take a minute to dream. If we installed solar hot water heaters at those 600 locations, our members would save about 90,000 gallons of oil each year. Over the solar hot water equipment’s lifetime, total savings would come to 1.8 million gallons of oil.

If oil prices increase over the next twenty years at the same rate as they have in the past, total savings come to $12 million! That’s one reason why we’re offering Co-op Solar.

Here’s another. By avoiding the use of 1.8 million gallons of oil over 20 years, those 600 solar hot water heaters would reduce carbon emissions by more than 4,000 tons.

Happy Co-op Solar Customers – Solar Hot Water Heaters in Vermont

Wednesday, March 21st, 2012

We’ve learned at least one thing since we’ve been helping our members save energy and money with solar hot water heaters - they really feel good about their decision to use the sun to heat their hot water. Here’s what three Co-op members told us recently:

“We had our Sunward hot water system installed at the end of last summer and started making hot water the same day. When the sun is out the system is always making hot water even if the outside air temperatures are below freezing. Installing this system was one important step in the process of making our house less dependent on oil. To me this was a good environmental and financial decision that I often share with friends and family.”

Co-op member, Dustin R., Montpelier, VT

“I’ve been very happy with my Sunward solar hot water system. It consistently heats water to over 120 degrees F in the summer, and even on some winter days. Even most cloudy days it is heating our water. I especially like that it is 100% solar powered and locally built.”

Co-op member, Keith E., South Burlington, VT.

“I installed the Sunward system myself about 15 months ago. I’m impressed with the system’s performance, even on partly cloudy, cold days. I feel good about our decision to use the sun to make our hot water.”

Co-op member, Russell H., Essex, VT

You can join Dustin, Keith and Russell. It’s easy. Sign up for your free Co-op Solar site assessment today.

Solar Hot Water Simple and Affordable with Co-op Solar

Friday, March 16th, 2012

A typical Vermont family of four spends about $600 a year on domestic hot water and these costs have nowhere to go but up.

Over the last decade alone, heating oil prices have increased at a rate of 11.2% a year!  In response, Vermonters are looking for more cost-effective options, as well as better environmental choices.  Now, the Energy Co-op of Vermont has launched a solar hot water heating program, Co-op Solar, designed to make solar simple and affordable.

By partnering with a local solar equipment manufacturer, Co-op Solar offers deeply discounted systems that are built right here inVermont. Further savings come from a 30% federal tax credit and a state rebate of up to $1,200. As a result, Co-op Solar brings solar hot water installation costs down by 50%.

The cost of fuel oil, propane, and electricity will continue to rise in future years, making solar hot water even more attractive. In many cases, Co-op Solar will save a four-person Vermont family upwards of $20,000 over the next 20 years. “Our solar hot water systems pay for themselves through energy savings alone”, says John Quinney, general manager at the Energy Co-op.

Co-op Solar comes with attractive financing from a local credit union and this allows homeowners to save more than they spend from year one,” adds Quinney. Co-op Solar may be the best investment you can make for your home and the planet.

Co-op Solar is now available to all homeowners in Burlington, Colchester, Essex, Essex Junction, South Burlington, Williston, and Winooski. Certified local contractors install the solar hot water heating equipment, usually in less than a day.

The Co-op Solar program runs through June 30th.

Member: Renewable Energy Vermont, Vermont Businesses for Social Responsibility

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