Sun is doing a powerful job for White City firm

J. W. Hurd Fabrication of White City is sporting a new roofline on their west Antelope Road facility.  It may not be apparent to the casual observer, but the entire roof is covered with an array of 132 solar collectors.
    
Owner Jeff Hurd is a firm believer that we should do everything possible to conserve our precious resources by conserving our valuable energy.  His 23.1 Kw system will provide up to half the electricity consumed by his operation.  Each of the panels is rated at 175 watts, or about the equivalent of about three sixty-watt light bulbs.  While that may not sound like much, Hurd says it’s not about producing huge amounts of electricity, but about conserving while energy demands are growing.


The system at Hurd Fabrication takes advantage of sunlight that hits
the roof of the building all year long.  The south-facing panels are
arranged in six banks of eleven collectors each on both sides of the
roof.  Newer technology allows that panels do not need to be rotated as
in older systems, where panels "tracked" the sun in its path across the
sky.  The individual banks of eleven panels are arranged so that no
panel will be in the shadow of another to take maximum advantage of
available sunlight.
   
Solar Man Company of Grants Pass is the
contractor for the project.  Owner Gary Thomas has been in the solar
installation business in southern Oregon for the past twenty years,
following five years in the Portland area.  Thomas says his company
offers "turnkey" packages to both commercial and residential
customers.  They do so because there are so many things that the
average person may not know about solar power, about grants,
engineering and a host of other details involved.
   
Thomas
quickly notes that the Hurd system is routed through an inverter to the
electrical grid.  The effect is that the meter runs slower while the
system is producing power.  When the plant is not in operation, the
meter turns backward.  Summer is best, because days are longer, but
even cloudy winter days produce electricity.  Solar man Company has
found that panels are more efficient when they are elevated above
rooflines to promote airflow under the collectors.
   
Solar Man
Company recommends that battery systems only be used where a business
or residence is "off the grid" because the maintenance of such systems
is so much more costly.  Turning the meter backward builds a credit
when producing more power than is being used.  Thomas says the "grid"
becomes the "batteries" for such a system.
   
Jeff Hurd says
"We’re probably all environmentalists," if that means that we care
about the environment and do our best to preserve it.  He believes that
every new home should be equipped with some type of conservation
devices, even if it is just a system to heat water. He takes it
seriously, and says that his Eagle Point home also has collectors that
take advantage of the generous amounts of southern Oregon sunshine.  "I
grew up here and stayed because it’s a beautiful place to live.  I’m
just doing my part to keep it that way."
   
Solar Man Company can be found online at www.solarmancompany.com or by calling 541-474-1699.
By Ralph McKechnie
For the Independent   

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