An Evaluation of Solar Energy for Heating a Highway Maintenance Headquarters Building

Report No: 85-R28

Published in 1985

About the report:

A highway maintenance area headquarters building having overall dimensions of 64 ft - 8 in by 42 ft - 0 in was equipped with an active solar heating system to assist in heating space and domestic hot water. The solar system was instrumented and its operation monitored for a 15-month period. An evaluation of the data collected indicated that the solar system conserved, on an annual basis, 53,023 kwh of power. At a cost of $0.0387 per kwh, annual savings of $2,052 were realized. A present-value analysis of the cost savings indicated that the investment in the active solar system was very favorable, if the power cost savings are doubled to reflect the potential savings of irreplaceable fossil fuels. If only the direct power cost savings are recognized, the investment in the active solar system is marginal, having a 19-year payback on a 20-year estimated service life. Since the water heater can utilize the solar energy during the full year, it is this aspect of the system that renders the total system economically favorable.

Disclaimer Statement:The contents of this report reflect the views of the author(s), who is responsible for the facts and the accuracy of the data presented herein. The contents do not necessarily reflect the official views or policies of the Virginia Department of Transportation, the Commonwealth Transportation Board, or the Federal Highway Administration. This report does not constitute a standard, specification, or regulation. Any inclusion of manufacturer names, trade names, or trademarks is for identification purposes only and is not to be considered an endorsement.


Other Authors

  • Hilton, Marvin H.

Last updated: January 16, 2024

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