Solar Source, a UMA Solar dealer, recently installed 21 Solene solar hot water systems at various municipal buildings for the City of St. Petersburg. The solar water heaters are expected to help the city save over $20,000 per year on operating expenses through reduced electricity bills.
An Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grant (EECBG) provided through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) of 2009 paid for the systems.
Solar Source installed the at four fire stations, the Sanitation Operations building, three sewage treatment plants, the Water Resources Building, the Sunshine Center, the Enoch Davis Rec Center, City Hall, the city golf courses, and the Coliseum. (Click here for a map.)
The solar water heaters are part of a broader renewable energy push for the city, which includes the Solar Parks Initiative Grant Project. Solar Source is installing photovoltaic systems on recreation centers and park facilities throughout the city through the Solar Parks Initiative. The PV systems will include an interactive educational display at the Science Center of Pinellas County where residents can learn how solar power works.
“The ‘Sunshine City’ was wise to invest in solar power,” said Jeremiah Rohr, Commercial Sales Representative for Solar Source. “Using grant money to invest in solar hot water systems will immediately reduce the monthly operating costs for the city. As energy prices continue to rise in the future, this investment will continue to generate even more savings for the city.”
St. Petersburg is known as the "Sunshine City" because it holds a Guinness World Record for logging the most consecutive days of sunshine - a stretch lasting 768 days that began in 1967, according to the city web site. St. Petersburg Councilmember Karl Nurse was a strong advocate for the clean energy investment plan, which also includes a solar hot water purchasing program for city residents.
The solar thermal systems, also called domestic hot water (DHW), use the sun’s energy to heat water, which is pumped into a storage tank. The pre-heated water greatly reduces the need for traditional fuels to heat the water in the tank. Replacing a typical water heater with a solar powered system will reduce more than 40,000 pounds of CO2 emissions over 20 years and potentially hundreds of dollars per year in utility costs.