Solar energy is a main component of a renewable energy future. A group of organizations called the Solar Thermal Consortium is trying to lay groundwork in the state of New York that could be used elsewhere in the United States. The group, which consists of more than 130 representatives from the government, universities and the solar industry, is working to bring solar heating to New York.
The overall goal of the $2.6 billion plan is to install 2,000 megawatts of solar thermal energy in New York by the year 2020. The group is working to boost research in the field, train individuals in installing solar thermal energy projects and increase use of solar thermal energy. The group is focusing on solar thermal heating because about 60 percent of energy required by buildings in New York are due to heating and hot water.
The Solar Thermal Consortium is hoping to have a million solar hot water systems installed by the year 2020. The group points to solar hot water as being able to save the average household significant amounts of money, a potential of 50 percent off current heating costs. Overall, New York consumers may be able to save $175 million under the current plan.
In addition to the monetary savings, the state of New York could save 6 million gallons of oil and 9.5 million cubic feet of natural gas every year with the solar hot water system installments. 320 million kilowatt-hours of electricity would also be saved if one million units are installed. Such savings amount to over 350,000 tons of greenhouse gas emissions being reduced yearly.
Such plans may be replicated across the country to not only boost solar energy use but to also save money and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.