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Untapped Opportunity for Solar Thermal Energy in The Greenhouse Business | Solar Thermal Power

The nursery business is very energy intensive as growers need to keep greenhouse temperatures constant regardless of the weather. Greenhouses tend to be poorly insulated due their size and the  requirement to allow in sufficient  light for plants to flourish. There is tremendous opportunity to employ alternative energy technologies in this industry, specifically solar thermal.

Nurseries are the leading sector of Oregon agriculture, with sales last year of $820 million, but they are particularly susceptible to energy cost increases because much of their product is grown in heated greenhouses. A recent article in highlights the efforts of one such nursery in the town of Cornelius. The Blooming Nursery which sprawls over 130 acres is nearing completion of a large solar thermal heating system for its greenhouses.

The system was designed by Ra Energy, and will stretch the entire 700 ft length of the facilities driveway. When finished, it will be Oregon’s largest application of solar thermal energy. Instead of producing electricity, the solar panels will heat the 300,000 gallon tank of water, which will circulate underground and warm the plants growing in a 54,000-square-foot greenhouse. A thermal flywheel will store heat in the heavily insulated concrete vault for months at a time, with water at the back of the vault approaching 200 degrees,

 A 50 percent tax write-off , available under Oregon’s Business Energy Tax Credit program  and the anticipated energy cost savings will allow this project to pay for itself in five to eight years.

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Untapped Opportunity for Solar Thermal Energy in The Greenhouse Business | Solar Thermal Power Tags: Greenhouse, Oregon, solar thermal, Solar Thermal heating systems

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ST Staff Writers
ST Staff Writers
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