Solar Industries Case Study #3
In sunny Scottsdale Arizona, community associations large and small are embracing the possibility of Solar Thermal Pool Heating as a way to make an environmental impact, get control of their budgets, and offset energy costs. Terravita's "Solar Walkway" is a unique expression of how one community chose to make this positive impact.
Terravita is a well established north Scottsdale luxury golf development that takes pride in their ongoing green initiatives. The community is nestled into the Sonoran desert landscape at the southern base of Black Mountain with approximately 1380 homes, a beautiful clubhouse and an Olympic-size pool. In September 2008, Tim Horn and the club's capital improvements committee began looking at the difference pool solar would make in reducing energy costs. With the assistance of Sun Systems, Inc., energy audits were performed with favorable results and the project was adopted into the board's 2009 – 2010 capital improvement plan.
When the automated solar system goes active it produces more than 1.6 million Btu per day or approximately 588 million Btu per year. The system is expected to offset current natural gas usage by 37%, saving Terravita homeowners more than $22,000 per year. Local utility rebates from APS reduced the out of pocket cost by $17,242, resulting in a payback of just 2.5 years for the solar portion of the project. With the addition of the commercial pool covers that were also installed, savings over the life of the system are expected to be more than $690,000.