By TARYN FITSIK
BALLSTON SPA, N.Y. — The latest solar technology can heat a home even when the sun isn't out, and it's being used right here in the Capital Region.
We are used to seeing the traditional flat solar panels on roofs of homes that uses the sun's rays to heat a home. However, the new technology uses a tube instead to capture the heat. It's called heat pipe technology, and retains more than 90 percent of solar radiation, and then converts it to heat.
Rodney Wiltshire, president of Empire Solar Systems, says the systems are all custom made, and can save homeowners a considerable amount of cash.
“It's got a very fast return on investment, and will ultimately going to pay for itself many times over, throughout the life of the existence of the system,” says Wiltshire.
The system is made up of evacuated tubes, essentially vacuums that trap heat from the sun and store it, so a home can be heated even on cloudy days. Plus, the tubes are insulated from harsh weather elements.
“So in the winter time, when we are experiencing negative four degrees farenheit, it is still producing heat that brings it into their house,” says Wiltshire. “It's really the only option you can use here in the northeast.”
On Monday, Wiltshire began installing the solar technology on a home located on Middleline Rd. in Ballston Spa that dates back to the mid-1800's.
Homeowner Polly Windels says since she has no control over the price of oil, this new solar technology is the best option.
“It's now considered a long term improvement,” says Windels. “It's an asset to a house.”
Windels spends up to $4,000 a year to heat her home and hot water tank. Now thanks to this new solar technology, she won't be shelling out as much cash, and will be helping the environment at the same time.
“We have a system that uses a fossil fuel, and this is a way to make that system be as effective and efficient as it possibly can be, which in turn can help the environment,” says Windels. “It makes me feel good. I've only be trying to do this for 25 years, so it feels good to bring it to completion.”
Windels' solar technology system costs $15,000, and by factoring in her yearly heating bill, she expects to have the system pay for itself in three to five years.
However, Windels will also be receiving a federal and state tax credit, worth 55 percent of the cost of the solar technology, making it even more cost-effective.