Governor Jim Douglas recently announced the state park campgrounds in Vermont are going solar!
Solar hot water systems will be installed at all restrooms and bathhouses in the park campgrounds in the state. At least one solar element will be implemented in each park. The project is part of the state’s effort to create jobs, fight recession and address climate change issues. Besides reducing the state’s carbon footprint, the new systems will also reduce the parks' operating costs.
The parks in Vermont have a 20-year history of using alternative energy. Solar heated water showers are installed at numerous state parks, and one location has a water system powered by photovoltaic panels.
The Department of Forests, Parks and Recreation (FPR) has invested $600,000 in the project. The FPR is currently seeking bids for the installation and coordination of solar hot water systems. Construction is expected to begin sometime this fall and completion is expected by the beginning of the 2010 season.
Solar Hot Water Systems
According to the California Energy Commission, more than 500,000 solar hot water systems have been installed across America. Solar heating systems generally include two main components: the solar collector and the storage tank. The system works by having the sun heat water or a fluid inside a collector; The hot water is then held in the storage.
There are several different types of systems for buildings, including active and passive systems. Active systems, which are most common, use electric pumps and controllers to move the water through the collectors to the tank. Passive systems, on the other hand, use gravity and have no electrical components. These systems are generally considered easier to maintain and are more reliable than active systems.
Whether they are installed in a home, workplace or park, solar water heating systems provide a cost-effective method of generating hot water while reducing our reliance on fossil fuels.
Photo Emily Cahil
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