Solar thermal project part of innovative pilot program in South Carolina

VELUX solar collectors for use in custom solar water heating and daylight systems that include skylights or roof windows
VELUX solar collectors for use in custom solar water heating and daylight systems that include skylights or roof windows

Seventy homes across South Carolina have been chosen to participate in a unique program that will bring solar energy to more families in the Palmetto State. The project by Central Electric Power Cooperative, Inc. (CEPCI) will monitor the effectiveness of residential solar thermal water heating using a grant from the South Carolina Energy Office.

Southern Energy Management (SEM) was awarded a contract in September to install 60 of the systems out of its Greenville office. SEM partnered with VELUX, a leading global manufacturer of solar water heaters with its U.S. headquarters in Greenwood, to complete all 60 residential systems in 60 days.


Covering about 75 percent of a typical family's hot water needs

"I was very thrilled when I found out we had been selected," Clover resident Ken Newell said. "In a tough economy, especially for people in the architecture and construction industry like I am, anything that can save money is a real godsend. I'm going to be very interested to see my power bill."

Solar water heating can cover about 75 percent of a typical family's hot water needs, and can eliminate the equivalent of 19,000 lbs of carbon emissions that would be created from heating that water through non-renewable power sources. More than 25 of the systems will be monitored for a year to track how much solar hot water is produced and how much electricity is saved as a result. The data will give CEPCI valuable information about potential savings for customers on a larger scale.

"We're looking forward to reviewing the data from the monitoring systems to see if solar power can play an even bigger role in meeting the expanding energy needs of our customers in the future," said Scott Hammond, Project Administrator Energy Programs for CEPCI.


A tangible positive impact on families

The systems are being installed in homes served by four South Carolina cooperatives: York Electric Cooperative Inc., Pee Dee Electric Cooperative, Santee Electric Cooperative Inc. and Berkeley Electric Cooperative. Installation of the VELUX solar water heating systems began in late September and ended in November.

"Given that the average household spends 20-25% of their home energy costs on heating water, these systems will have a tangible positive impact on families. It's a win-win situation when you can help people save money on their energy bills, and spread the word about solar water heating at the same time," said Paul Johnson, Southeast District Sales Manager for VELUX. "We're proud that this project is taking place in our home state of South Carolina."

Charleston, Florence, Georgetown and Rock Hill are just some of the cities where homeowners will benefit from the free solar systems.



2010-12-23| Courtesy: Southern Energy Management | © Heindl Server GmbH

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