Sun City West’s Solar Initiative, launched in January 2011, already is paying dividends – in a big way!

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The solar thermal project installed at Beardsley Recreation Center in April has saved the Association more than $8,050 in its first two months! Comparing April and May natural gas bills at Beardsley Aquatics this year compared to last year reveals a huge savings:

April May

2010 $5,815.56 $3,971.96

2011 $1,562.36 $172.04

Monthly Savings: $4,253.20 $3,799.92

Total Savings: $8,053.12

The overall project cost $195,000, but thanks to energy credits, the Association’s out-of-pocket cost was only $22,800. At the current rate of savings, the project will be paid off in about 14 months.

The solar thermal project heats the pool, spa and domestic water supply, as well as the air in the building. The project, which went online in April, is the largest project under the Rec Centers’ Solar Initiative umbrella, but it’s not the only one. A photovoltaic solar project on the roof of Echo Mesa Maintenance Yard is being installed now and is expected to be online by mid-July. The Association will watch the results of that project for about a year, and if successful, similar projects may be planned at the other maintenance yards.

The Association actually has been balancing environmental and economic benefits for a while – installing CFL light bulbs and low-flow water devices, using green cleaning products at all its facilities, and reducing the amount of turf (and therefore the amount of water and chemicals used) on the courses.

The Rec Centers continues with its ongoing program of recycling, reducing water usage, taking advantage of posting more materials online to save in paper costs, and other environmentally friendly management alternatives.

Residents can find more information about solar thermal and photo voltaic systems, as well as steps they can take to be more energy efficient, by visiting www.rcscw.com and clicking on the “SCW Solar Initiative” link under “Member Info,” or go directly to http://rcscw.com/solar.html. New information will be added as it becomes available.

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