This is an excerpt from EERE Network News, a weekly electronic newsletter.

November 24, 2004

Solar "Utilities" and Credit Trades Boost Solar Water Heating

Most Americans may not think about using solar energy to meet their hot water needs, but a number of innovative companies and utilities are working to change that. In Green Bay, Wisconsin, for instance, the Solar Mining Company installs solar hot water systems at commercial, industrial, and non-profit facilities for free, and then bills the customer for the hot water at rates lower than competing fossil-fueled options. The company, which received startup funding from Wisconsin's Focus on Energy, will also build and install customer-owned systems. See the Focus on Energy press release (PDF 39 KB). Download Acrobat Reader.

Florida's Lakeland Electric went a step further: it recently sold renewable energy credits from its solar hot water systems. Lakeland Electric sold 50 megawatt-hours of solar heating credits for $2,000 in September, using Sterling Planet as a broker. After paying commission fees, the utility earned 3.2 cents per kilowatt-hour on the deal, which marks the first time that solar thermal credits have been traded. The funds will help support solar water heating in Lakeland, located about 25 miles east of Tampa. See the Lakeland Electric press release.

The South Carolina Energy Office (SCEO) is also promoting solar hot water systems. The office's new Public Building Solar Initiative is offering grants to cover three-quarters of the cost of installing solar hot water systems on public buildings throughout the state. The SCEO expects to award at least $80,000 to eligible projects. Applications are due on December 10th. See the SCEO announcement.