This is a press release submitted to the Las Vegas Sun. It has not been verified or edited by the Sun.
State Grant Heats Up VEA’s Solar Water Program
Published on Wed, Oct 31, 2012 (3:56 p.m.)State Grant Heats Up VEA’s Solar Water Program
Funds target homes now using propane for upgrade to solar technology
(PAHRUMP, NV) The State of Nevada Office of Energy has awarded the Valley Electric Association (VEA) a $5,000 grant to enable more of the co-op’s members to participate in its domestic solar water heating program. VEA (www.vea.coop) is a national leader in the marketing, finance and installation of domestic solar water heating systems.
The state’s funds are allocated to help retrofit homes currently using propane to heat domestic water. This will reduce the use of a fossil fuel that needs to be imported into Nevada with an indigenous resource.
“Both Nevada’s environment and economy benefit when Nevada’s abundant sunshine replaces this fossil fuel use,” said Stacey Crowley, director of Nevada’s Office of Energy.
“We thank the state energy office for helping more of our members save money by switching to solar water heating,” said Tom Husted, VEA’s chief executive officer.
680 VEA members have already installed solar water heating systems for their homes through the co-op’s innovative “no money down, zero percent interest” loan program. Homeowners pay their monthly loan payment for the solar water heating system from their savings on the fuel—propane or electricity—they previously used to heat water.
“Our solar water heating program benefits our residential members, our co-op, and our community,” said Husted.
VEA’s program has been recognized and publicized by the Cooperative Research Network (CRN) of the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association (NRECA), the trade association representing more than 900 not-for-profit rural electric cooperatives and public power districts providing electric service to more than that serve more than 42 million Americans in 47 states.
“VEA’s program is a great model for other utilities both in Nevada and across the country to emulate,” said Crowley. “It’s great to see a relatively small co-op in Nevada be recognized as a national leader in this important technology.”
A National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) study estimated that solar water heating could potentially consumers across the country more than $8 billion a year in energy costs.
Solar water heating is good for the environment as well as the economy. VEA estimates that the units installed to date reduce the co-op’s electric demand by 340 kW and displace 2.1 million pounds of carbon dioxide a year from being emitted into the atmosphere.