Holy Cross offers solar stock tanks at discount in October | AspenTimes.com

Holy Cross offers solar stock tanks at discount in October

Staff report

During October, Holy Cross Energy is asking livestock owners in Garfield, Eagle and Pitkin counties to join together for the Solar Stock Tank Sales Event, a group purchase at wholesale prices.

"Through this group purchase, we are able to offer discounts of 9 to 14 percent to all livestock owners," said Mary Wiener, energy efficiency program administrator for Holy Cross Energy.

"Members of Holy Cross Energy also qualify for an additional $300 rebate on these energy saving livestock tanks, knocking the purchase price down by 50 percent or more," Wiener said.

Customers of Xcel Energy, Glenwood Springs Electric and Aspen Electric may also qualify for rebates offered by the electric utilities or through CORE.

The outdoor tanks, called SunTanks, are heated by direct sunlight, and are superinsulated to prevent water from freezing. Made from FDA-approved polyethelene, they have a shatter-proof solar window, all made to withstand daily use.

Livestock can easily push in on the tank cover to take a drink. SunTanks can be filled manually from a hose, or can be plumbed to refill automatically, with a built-in shut-off float that prevents overflow.

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"Livestock owners are either paying a lot on their electric bills to heat stock tanks in winter or they're breaking up ice with a sledgehammer and shoveling it out of unheated tanks," said Brandon Jones, an energy consultant with CLEER and Garfield Clean Energy. "These passive solar stock tanks solve either of those problems."

Carbondale horse owners Rachel Marble and Kevin White discovered the SunTank a couple of years ago. They estimate they are saving about $170 per winter on electric bills after replacing their electric-heated tank with a SunTank.

"Typical livestock tanks are kept above freezing temperatures in the winter months with a 1,000-watt heater that runs up to 12 hours per day," Wiener said. "This technology saves a lot of energy."

Marble recommends placing the SunTank in a location that captures as much winter sunlight as possible. Because of the spigot location on her property, her tank gets less sunlight. Even so, she's only had to thaw it out with a teakettle of hot water a couple of times per season.

In summer, the SunTank keeps water cool and less prone to algae, and the push-in cover keeps out mosquitoes.

Wiener said the electric co-op has already issued rebates for 15 SunTanks. Holy Cross officials decided to organize a group purchase and offer the discount to all livestock owners in the region because of the significant energy-savings potential.

Holy Cross Energy also will hold a drawing for one free SunTank during Potato Day on Oct. 7 in Carbondale. Look for the Holy Cross float in the Potato Day parade and the booth in Sopris Park to sign up.

The Solar Livestock Tank Sales Event is open to all livestock owners.

For information on rebates for Xcel Energy and Glenwood Springs Electric customers, visit GarfieldCleanEnergy.org and click on "Farms and Ranches" under the "Commercial" tab.

Tanks must be purchased in advance by sending a check, payable to Holy Cross Energy, no later than Oct. 31.

Tanks will be delivered in November to Wylaco Supply Co. in Gypsum and to the Roaring Fork Valley Co-op in Carbondale, where customers can pick them up.

Orders should be sent to Holy Cross Energy, Attn: Mary Wiener, P.O. Box 2150, Glenwood Springs, CO 81602.

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