Three solar thermal panels with a solar reflective roof were installed on the roof of Fire Station 1 in fall 2011. The 120 square foot system with a 120 gallon storage tank was financed by a Minnesota Department of Commerce grant. The site was chosen because of its proximity to the Energy Innovation Corridor and its superior solar resources – no other buildings in the area block its access to sun. The solar storage tank acts as a pre-heater for the cold water entering the regular water heater. The systems were installed by Innovative Power Systems of Saint Paul, and the solar panels were manufactured by Solar Skies, LLC in Alexandria, Minnesota.
Fire Station 1 is the City of Minneapolis’ oldest station, built in 1908. The City hopes that this project will prove the viability of retrofitting older buildings with energy saving technologies.
- The solar thermal panels will provide the fire station with 50 to 70 percent of its hot water needs on an annual basis, saving the City of Minneapolis about $1,000 each year on natural gas.
- The white membrane, solar reflective roof will save the City of Minneapolis about $2,500 each year on natural gas and electricity combined.