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July 27, 2012
Contact: Rick Moore (812) 876-0282

Clark County REMC teams with Hoosier Energy on grant program

Tornado-ravaged Henryville school gets solar water heating system

The tornado-ravaged Henryville school was selected as the first recipient for a solar water heating grant program developed by Hoosier Energy and its member electric cooperatives.

Clark County REMC serves the kindergarten through grade 12 school buildings that were heavily damaged by a tornado on March 2. Henryville is part of the West Clark Community Schools district.

About 65 percent of the school was destroyed with 100-percent water damage throughout. The school had to replace everything in the interior, including its hot water system. Clark County REMC and Hoosier Energy stepped forward with assistance. More than $40,000 was applied to the restoration of the water heating system at the high school. A new grant program developed through an Environmental Protection Agency agreement covered the cost for design, equipment, installation and maintenance on the system, which harnesses the sun's energy through solar collectors.

Under the solar water heating grant program, a school or other non-profit will be selected in each member system's service area. Installations also include a monitoring system that provides a public educational resource for solar energy.

"We think we'll have a much better building than before and more energy efficient," said West Clark Superintendent Monty Schneider.

Clark County REMC General Manager David Vince said the Sellersburg-based cooperative's Board of Directors is pleased to be able to assist the Henryville rebuilding program.

"We want the refurbished Henryville school to operate as energy efficiently as possible," said Vince. "With the solar water heater and a state-of-the-art energy management system, the school will be a model for energy efficiency in our service territory."

Hoosier Energy's commercial and industrials incentive program assisted with the energy management system that will control heating, ventilation and cooling equipment throughout the building. The cooperatives will place an energy efficiency educational display at the school and also plan to test light-emitting diode (LED) technology in some classrooms.

Savings on the solar project are estimated to be around 50 percent. Dave Mann, owner of MPI Solar and contractor for the installation, said solar water heating is affordable for institutions such as schools.

Solar collectors heat fluid circulated through a heat exchanger. Heat from the fluid is transferred to water in a storage tank then cycled back through collectors where the process is repeated. The system will meet hot water needs for the entire school with the exception of one kitchen dishwasher.

Hoosier Energy Marketing Services Coordinator Wes McFarland said in addition to efficiency, the Henryville solar water heating system is sturdy, reinforced to the girders and engineered to withstand strong wind. Environmental benefits include annual carbon reductions of two tons for each solar collector panel installed.

The electric cooperatives advised the school system on several measures that will make the rebuilt facilities more energy efficient. For instance, instead of simply replacing rooftop air conditioning units, the school will install dual-fuel heat pumps for heating and cooling. The result will be long term reduced energy use and savings.

The school is expected to be ready when teachers report for the 2012-2013 year on Aug. 6 with students scheduled for the next day.

Henryville solar water heating system