Find out more about renewable energy technologies. Attend the Gundersen Envision Renewable Energy Project Development seminar, March 26-28.
This photo shows a construction crew installing a solar hot water system at Gundersen’s Renal Dialysis Center in Onalaska, WI, in the spring of 2012. Renal dialysis centers use and heat large quantities of water. Solar hot water systems can help reduce your domestic hot water heating bills. Solar hot water systems operate differently than a solar photovoltaic (P.V.) system. Solar hot water uses a special fluid that is run through tubes in the solar panels and the fluid transfers heat from the panels to the hot water system in your building. A solar P.V. system produces electricity instead of heat.
A solar hot water system is a renewable energy technology that might make sense for your healthcare application. They are often more affordable than a solar P.V. system and can be particularly helpful in cooler climates where heating needs are great, even if the solar resource is not as good in your location as it is in other areas. Some advantages of solar systems as a renewable technology are that they do not produce emissions and are therefore not harmful to health or to the environment. They are relatively quick and easy to install when compared to other renewable energy technologies and require minimal maintenance. With solar systems, there are very few permitting or regulatory processes to navigate reducing project uncertainty and cycle time. The fuel – sunlight – is free, however it is also intermittent and there are times when the solar system may not produce all of the heat you need. Therefore, you may still need to maintain and interface your conventional hot water heating systems. To “top it off,” you can easily find a place to mount a solar hot water system on-site by utilizing your rooftop and this can be done in urban areas as well as rural areas.
Health systems often have hot water heating needs such as boilers, laundries, sterilizers, etc., and if you are considering a renewable energy project as an addition to your sustainability portfolio, you may want to look at a solar hot water system.