On Earth Day 2013, Free Hot Water was recognized by San Jose City Councilmember Ash Kalra for our Tradewinds project. Kalra was the scissor–cutter of honor, cutting the ceremonial ribbon of the largest multi-unit residential solar thermal installation in California to date. While ribbon cuttings and special guests are always great publicity, there is more to celebrate here than just a commercial solar thermal installation.
First, we believe that every solar thermal installation should be celebrated, no matter what their size. Whether for homes, apartment buildings, hotels, breweries, or Laundromats, solar thermal installations are still relatively rare in the U.S., especially compared to Europe, Israel, and China. So, we encourage every installer to somehow break open the champagne on every residential or commercial building that gets free hot water from the sun. The more you celebrate, the more others will notice and ask questions, and that will lead to even more solar hot water installations–and celebrations.
Second, we’d like to thank our solar thermal partners. While Free Hot Water did the design, engineering, and solar product procurement on the Tradewinds, it was Comfort Energy’s team that put their boots on the roof, installing 186 solar hot water collectors on five two-story buildings, plus three massive solar thermal storage tanks. We literally couldn’t have done it without them.
Another important and significant partner was Renewable Technology Developments Inc, which financed the project with a solar thermal lease. While solar leasing and PPA’s are very common in the solar photovoltaic world, few solar hot water projects are financed that way today. As a result, Renewable Technology Developments Inc is another important innovator and partner in the solar thermal world, and we hope they will continue to support more commercial solar thermal projects.
We’re of course very grateful for Councilmember Kalra for taking the time on Earth Day to recognize the installation. At the ribbon cutting, he said, “This project cements San Jose’s reputation for being a leader in innovation and green technology, and I congratulate The Tradewinds and Free Hot Water for their commitment to renewable energy.” California—and indeed the U.S.—need more local leaders like Ash Kalra to draw attention to the benefits of solar thermal technology, as well as encourage more supportive solar legislation.
Perhaps most importantly of all, we celebrate and congratulate the 320 condominium owners and their property manager, Craig Gorewitz, who not only chose Free Hot Water, but who also chose to install solar water heating at the Tradewinds. Although the new CSI Thermal Program rebates makes a solar thermal decision much easier in California, these residents and their board are pioneers. They didn’t follow their neighbors or other condominium associations. They led. They looked at the numbers and the environmental benefits, and they decided it made financial sense for themselves as well as environmental sense for the world. As a result, they will save substantially on their hot water bills, plus produce over 5 million BTU’s daily, saving over 250,000 pounds of CO2 on an annual basis.
So, we congratulate all of our partners and supporters, but we especially celebrate and congratulate the entire Tradewinds community for having the vision to lead in solar hot water for California apartment buildings.
If you agree, please join me and congratulate the Tradewinds community in the comments section below.