On a recent drive past Dee Fegen’s and Chuck DeMarco’s farmette near Carlisle, PA, there was something different in the side yard next to the barn. A newly-installed field of solar panels beside the Pheasant Field Bed & Breakfast attracted my attention and I needed to take photos and learn more. EarthNet Energy had approached Dee and Chuck to test their equipment at Pheasant Field and collect statistics. EarthNet Energy was receiving research grant money from the PA Department of Energy to develop and test this NEW technology that uses solar energy to heat an anti-freeze-like fluid instead of the traditional electricity generating technology we often see on roadsides or roof tops. In return for the low cost of the installation to the Inn, Dee and Chuck committed to EarthNet’s collection of data and statistics for this application. Nine ENT 24 Solar Collectors heat this fluid and deliver it to a heat transfer coil inside a large holding tank in a shed beside the field…heating the water in the tank. At this photo time, the water temperature was 165°. From this tank, water is then pumped into the Inn to the hot water heaters there as necessary to replace the typical 55° water that enters the property. The inn is equipped with both an oil burning and one electrical water heater to service the house.
Like a nosy reporter, I asked Dee if she has yet felt the savings from this installation since she is essentially priming her hot water heaters with pre-heated water. She replied that it has only been a couple of months and it is difficult to give any empirical measurements yet, but she was proud to say the hot water heater only came on twice during the entire month of October…a busy month at this inn…busy with showers, laundry and dishwashers that all require appreciable hot water. “And that makes me smile” was her intuitive answer to my question! Good show, Dee and Chuck! Scott