Went last Saturday to a solar water heater raising in Portsmouth, courtesy of Seacoast Renewable Energy Initiative. Ann and Michael Bliss, Kevin Beane and Melinda Salazar and Paul Burke are the driving force behind the group, which has raised four photo-voltaic and four solar hot water installations since it began in May 2009.
A SEA-REI member who wants an installation pays for the equipment and upfront plumbing costs such as chasing pipe in this instance and organizes food for the crew. Then a dozen or more workers, many construction experts but also “guards” who keep people from falling off the roof, and an equal number or more of interested parties, media, politicians, and the curious arrive on the scene and do the installation.
With the 30% federal tax deduction and a New Hampshire 15% rebate and free labor, a solar hot water installation can pay for itself in a few years. This was installed on an apartment building in the historic district of Portsmouth, NH. The workers in the image are up on the roof. They have finished erecting the platform on which the vacuum tubes, each containing a “phase changer” that transmits heat out of the tube and into a half water-half glucose solution which in turns delivers the heat to a hot water boiler. Next they bolt the tubes to the platform and hook up a solar-powered engine to move the hot water out. It’s a closed system with the little engine the only moving part.
It was an extremely hot day. One person carried a custom-insulated drinking cup to keep his drink cool.