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Hospitality Sector Embracing ‘Mature’ Solar Thermal Technology

Solar America Solutions has been on the leading edge of solar thermal technology since the introduction of our patented SunQuest 250™ solar thermal collector panel in 2011. Over the years, we have installed our systems across multiple commercial sectors including agriculture, education, and government. We are thrilled that the hospitality sector is now getting on board with solar thermal for both hot water and space heating.

The hospitality sector has come to understand how cost-effective solar thermal solutions are for providing hot water at hotels and resorts where it has often been a key budgetary and maintenance concern. Solar America Solutions is once again leading the way, as evidenced by a great story just published by Glenn Hasek in a recent edition of Green Lodging News.

Grand Hyatt Atlanta in Buckhead installation

Grand Hyatt Atlanta in Buckhead installation

Hasek’s article discussed how hotels and resorts are taking advantage of the sun’s potential as an energy source to heat water for on-site consumption. Hasek specifically mentioned hotels in Haiti, French Polynesia, and the U.S. He also contrasted the difference between the evacuated tube technology, like the technology Solar America Solutions utilizes, and more traditional flat-panel collectors.

Evacuated Tube Technology Now ‘Mature’

The title of Hasek’s article implies that solar technology is now mature enough for widespread adoption within the hospitality sector. If that is the case, and we believe it is, the maturity being spoken of here is not in the sense that solar technology has had to overcome a lot of technical problems to be useful. Rather, it is mature in the sense that people are more willing to use it than in the past, despite the fact that the science behind it has been well understood for decades.

In the case of our solar thermal collector, the science behind evacuated tubes is nothing new. When we adapted the evacuated tube paradigm for our design, we knew from the start it would work – and work well. Evacuated solar thermal tubes are highly efficient machines capable of harnessing energy from the sun and creating heat energy from it with very little loss.

From our earliest installations at an Indiana corrections facility and an Ohio poultry operation, we knew evacuated tubes were the way to go for space heat and hot water in commercial buildings. Evacuated tube collectors are incredibly efficient and they require a very small footprint. They even work on cloudy and overcast days as well as the coldest winter days because they utilize ultraviolet rays rather than the sun’s infrared rays.

The Grand Hyatt Atlanta

To illustrate the maturity of solar thermal, Hasek discussed our installation at the Grand Hyatt Atlanta in Buckhead last summer. We installed a 20-panel system on the roof of the 439-room hotel to provide hot water for both public consumption and to supplement the hotel’s aging boilers.

According to hotel management, guests used to call with complaints about hot water on a regular basis before installation. In the 10 months since, the hotel has not received a single complaint. Furthermore, the boilers only need to be fired up on weekends and during extremely busy periods. This implementation at the Buckhead, Georgia Grand Hyatt has also resulted in a 60% reduction in their natural gas cost.

Both the hotel and Solar America Solutions expect the solar thermal system to last more than two decades. The hotel believes it will recoup its investment within three years, saving a tremendous amount thereafter.

While there is a place for flat-panel solar collection in the vast universe that is renewable energy, we believe evacuated tube technology is far superior for many reasons. The hospitality industry is coming to understand that as well. Solar America Solutions will continue developing both the technology and our relationship with the hospitality sector in the hope that solar-powered hot water systems will become a mainstream, viable option for hotels and resorts around the world.

Sources:

  • Green Lodging News – http://www.greenlodgingnews.com/mature-technology-makes-solar-a-powerful-option-for-water-heating/

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Solar America Solutions Receives Official Notice of US Patent Grant

​Solar America Solutions, an Indianapolis-based provider of leading commercial solar thermal heating solutions, has received official “Notice of Allowance” from the United States Patent and Trademark Office representing the final decision and ruling that an official US Patent will be granted for the breakthrough solar thermal technology at the core of their SunQuest 250™ solar thermal collector.

SunQuest250

“This patent represents the biggest advance in solar thermal technology in the past 30 years,” said Solar America Solutions Vice President of Technology and product developer Don Crawmer. “Its incredibly gratifying for me and our company to know that the US Patent Office recognizes the uniqueness of our solar thermal collector. We believe our product has the ability to create sustainable, emission-free thermal energy at a level that’s never before been reached. We’ve already installed the largest non-utility level solar thermal project in North America, and I’m sure the future looks very bright for us and our customers.”

Victor Indiano, Indianapolis-based patent counsel for Solar America Solutions said, “I knew this thermal technology was a winner the moment I saw it. There have been several promising solar technologies that didn’t live up to their press, but the results that Solar America Solutions has achieved are amazing. The genuine caring and concern for world-class quality and sustainable practice that Solar America Solutions exhibits sets a high standard for others to follow. They deserve their patent and the opportunity to make a difference.”

Solar America Solutions and its SunQuest™ product line, specialize in highly efficient and renewable solar thermal energy solutions for government, industrial and commercial applications that regularly save end users 50% plus on their monthly hot water and space heating costs.

About Solar America Solutions

Solar America Solutions is an Indiana-based manufacturer of solar thermal collector units and their associated equipment. The company’s systems have proven very successful for providing green energy for space heating and water heating. Solar America specializes in commercial applications for educational institutions, government buildings, hospitals, manufacturing, and agriculture. Their systems are highly efficient and cost-effective with an average ROI of five years or less.

For more information contact Charlie Slavik: (317) 833-9961

Solar Panel Array to Help Heat, Power Ohio Prison (by Andrew Walsh-Huggins AP)

CHILLICOTHE, Ohio (AP) — The state on Wednesday unveiled a large solar panel project at a southern Ohio prison it says will save taxpayers $245,000 in annual energy costs, reduce greenhouse emissions and help train inmates involved in the project as a route to future jobs.

The 400 panels at Ross Correctional Institution in Chillicothe, about 50 miles south of Columbus, will be the primary source for hot water and heating in eight cell blocks, the Department of Rehabilitation and Correction said.

The panels consist of multiple tubes that collect ultraviolent rays and transfer the heat to a liquid similar to antifreeze that then heats water in large tanks inside the individual prison facilities. Because they use UV rays, the panels work whether it’s cloudy or sunny.

Just as important as the savings is the impact on the environment and the chance to provide job skills to inmates, said Ross warden Mark Hooks, following a rooftop tour of one set of panels on a warm and sunny day.

“You can’t have rehabilitation if you don’t give guys opportunities,” Hooks said Wednesday during a ceremony awarding completion certificates to six inmates who finished a training program.

One of those prisoners, 29-year-old Shane Blackburn of Lucasville, incarcerated for attempted robbery and theft, has been offered a job by PH Construction Development once he’s released in a few months. The Danville, Indiana-based company installed the panels developed by Solar America Solutions of Indianapolis. PH Construction also provided a letter to a judge overseeing the case of another inmate, Raymond Lashley, praising his work.

Lashley, 42, of Carrollton in eastern Ohio, said it was impossible to overestimate the value of being trusted to work on such a project.

“Just having the hope of something better,” said Lashley, serving eight years for assault. “It’s important to try to show people you can do the right thing.”

Ross Correctional opened in 1987 and has about 2,100 inmates with an annual budget of about $41 million.

Solar America Solutions, says the project is the largest non-utility solar installation in North America. Some of the challenges working in prisons include a limited work day and the knowledge that some inmates won’t make it through the rigorous program, said Charlie Slavik, the company’s marketing and sales vice president.

There are also rewards, he added.

“We get to make a difference in somebody’s life,” he said. “There are guys that have been pounding the pavement here, who have been incarcerated for several years, who are going to have a shot at a better life when they get out.”

The company has a specialty working with correction facilities to install solar panels, including training offenders with a program based on an apprenticeship for plumbers.

Ohio says the project, which cost $1.7 million, will help reduce natural gas usage and greenhouse gas emissions and has a 6.1-year return on investment.

Jails in Tennessee and Utah and prisons in Indiana and Wisconsin are among other correctional facilities with significant solar panel projects.

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Andrew Welsh-Huggins can be reached on Twitter at https://twitter.com/awhcolumbus.