Solar hot water installations adorn all Madison fire stations

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Solar installer Shawn Young (H&H Solar), RENEW’s Michael Vickerman, and the City of Madison’s Kay Schindel (left to right) inspect the solar hot water system on Station No. 1 with the downtown Madison skyline in the background.

Unlike many government reports, no dust settles on the report issued by the Mayor’s Energy Task Force in September 2004. Solar hot water systems -- tangible commitments to the report’s recommendations -- now serve all 11 of Madison’s firehouses.

One of the most visible appears to be nothing more than window awnings on the south-facing back wall of Station No. 6 along W. Badger Road on Madison’s south side.

The six-panel installation atop Station No. 1 on E. Dayton Street in downtown Madison can’t be seen from the street, yet it’s the largest.

The glycol solution running through the south-facing panels reaches as much as 160 degrees and heats the water in the holding tank up to 135 degrees even on a cold, sunny day.

Under the supervision of Shawn Young, H&H Solar installed seven of the 11 systems for the City of Madison.

Kay Schindel, an engineer with the city’s Facilities and Sustainability Division, says, “They all work.”