SAS ready for yet another large-scale solar project

Southern Energy Management (SEM) has broken ground on a commercial solar thermal system that will generate hot water for an employee cafeteria at SAS.

The solar water heating system, which includes 24 solar thermal collectors, each about four feet by ten feet, is being installed on the roof of Building T, a six-story existing office building on the business analytics software and services company's main campus.

As per the information available, the system will supply clean, renewable energy that will primarily be used to heat water in the building's employee cafeteria, reducing natural gas used for water heating by 50 percent. The solar collectors will provide insulation against future price volatility while eliminating about 14.5 tons of carbon dioxide annually.

Upon completion, SAS' new solar thermal system will be one of the largest commercial solar water heating systems in NC.

"To put this system's size in perspective, its annual hot water generation capacity will be equivalent to the annual output of about 15 typical residential solar water heaters," said Blair Kendall, business development director for SEM.

SEM, a North Carolina-based sustainable energy company, is also a key partner in the design and installation of SAS' 1-megawatt solar electric power farm, led by SunPower Corporation.

Both solar projects, which are part of SAS's continuing sustainability efforts to conserve environmental resources, are scheduled for completion by the end of the year.