Archive for Saturday, March 20, 2010

County jail moves forward on planned solar panels

March 20, 2010


Douglas County administrators are recommending that commissioners approve spending $20,000 on a proposal to install solar panels to heat water at Douglas County Jail and the county’s youth services building in North Lawrence.

County staff members estimate the projects will pay for themselves in eight to nine years based on the estimated savings in natural gas use.

“I think it makes a statement about the county in terms of how we’re trying to do more than just talk about how we need to be greener,” County Administrator Craig Weinaug said. “We’re actually trying to do it.”

Commissioners in December gave county staff members permission to begin pursuing bids to install solar panels at the jail, 3601 E. 25th St. At their 4 p.m. meeting Wednesday, commissioners will decide whether to approve a bid from Solar Heat Exchange Manufacturing of Perry.

The two facilities, which house a lot of people, use lots of hot water. The jail incurred $99,200 in natural gas costs in 2008.

The solar panels would provide energy to offset some — not all — of the cost of heating water in the buildings.

The company would install three panels at the youth services building to cover 96 square feet. At the jail, contractors recommended against installing solar panels on the roof because of trapped water and potential damage.

The proposal calls for installing five panels to cover 200 square feet on grounds outside the jail.

Wednesday’s meeting is at the Douglas County Courthouse, 1100 Mass.


EarthaKitt 8 years ago

"The two facilities, which house a lot of people, use lots of hot water."

I hate to criticize, George, but really? You had no way of finding out either of these numbers? Perhaps it would have sounded better left out altogether. And if a copy editor did this to you my apologies.

FreshAirFanatic 8 years ago

Why not save even more and only allow cold showers?

imastinker 8 years ago

Solar hot water is a pretty good deal actually. It may at times be enough to heat all the water, but other times it will only temper the hot water coming into the boiler, requiring less gas to finigh heating it. The best part is that it doesn't really wear out. The only moving part on the whole thing is the pump.

Chris Golledge 8 years ago

I know someone with this kind of system, two separate ones actually. From Spring into Fall, they pay nothing for hot water or to heat their pool. The hot water comes out of the system at 165 degrees F; the pool, obviously, more water at a lower temperature. They've calculated/measured about the same payback time.

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