Federal Energy Stimulus Project to Save Taxpayers
Thousands in Energy Costs
Starting in early 2011, hot water that comes out of faucets, showers, or clothes washers in the Dane County Public Safety Building (PSB) will be heated by the sun. That’s because Dane County has been awarded a federal energy stimulus grant for installation of a new solar-powered hot water system that will save taxpayers thousands of dollars in energy costs.
The Public Safety Building includes the Dane County Sheriff’s Office, the Dane County Department of Emergency Management, and the Dane County Jail where hundreds of inmates take showers and have laundry done daily.
Instead of just using costly natural gas to heat water, the new system will use heat generated by a series of 16 solar panels on the roof of the PSB to heat hundreds of gallons of water for use in the building. Once the water is heated, it will be stored in insulated tanks in the basement and ready for use. Those tanks will hold 620 gallons of hot water.
“By harnessing the power of the sun, we’re going to save taxpayers thousands in energy costs,” County Executive Kathleen Falk said. “This federally-funded project has the added benefit of putting paychecks in the back-pockets of local workers from a local company.”
In addition to the $150,000 in energy cost savings over the life of the system, the county will also receive a one-time $25,000 rebate from Focus on Energy for installing the new system.
After action by the county board last night, the County Executive will move forward on finalizing a contract to H&H Solar Energy Services of Madison for installation of the project. Workers will begin installation of the 16 solar panels on the roof of the Public Safety Building in December. The solar panels will heat a glycol-water mixture. That mixture will then run through equipment called a heat exchanger that acts to heat the water.
The project is being paid for entirely by a federal Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grant and the total cost of the project is $76,500.