The Y goes green: $103K solar project largest in state of Virginia

Sigora Solar and the Waynesboro Family YMCA are teaming up on what will be the largest thermal solar installation in the state of Virginia.

The system will consist of 40 panels covering approximately 1,600 square feet of space mounted on custom-engineered and -built aluminum rack on the YMCA’s roof. The $103,000 project is being funded by a grant from the Virginia Department of Mines, Minerals and Energy under a program funded by the American Reinvestment and Recovery Act.

The grant monies will be made available to the Y upon completion of the project in April. Bob and Patty Rouse of Waynesboro are providing the Y with a 0 percent loan to cover costs of the project until the grant monies are made available to the YMCA as reimbursement.

“I’m very excited to be partnering with Sigora Solar in Waynesboro and appreciative of the resources from the Department of Mines, Minerals and Energy. This is win-win for everyone,” YMCA executive director Jeff Fife said.

The thermal solar system will be tied in the building’s domestic hot-water and space-heating system and has the potential to save the YMCA $13,000 a year in energy costs, said Andy Bindea, the president of Sigora Solar, a Waynesboro-based company that began operations in the River Town complex in April.

“Projects such as the Waynesboro YMCA solar thermal energy project are fantastic for our community. They bring together local companies and contractors and benefit a local organization that does a significant amount of good for our community,” Bindea said.

For the Y project, SIgora designed a drain back solar thermal system with a pumping station and a 500-gallon custom built heat storage tank that will be installed in one of the Y’s mechanical rooms along with all the heat exchanges and automatized controls.

Once the system is operational, it will be fully automatic with minimal maintenance required – an estimated two to three hours a year.

The project has the enthusiastic support of the Virginia Department of Mines, Minerals and Energy. Ken Jurman, the coordinator of the solar and wind incentive grant program, said the Y project “fits well within the scope and intent of Virginia energy policy to encourage renewable energy resources.

“I’m very pleased that this initiative is moving ahead – it’s exactly the kind of thing we want to encourage across the Commonwealth to move toward a sustainable energy future,” Jurman said.

Waynesboro City Councilman Tim Williams – a longtime YMCA member – is excited about the project and what it will do for the Y and for the Waynesboro community.

“This is a great opportunity for our city and the YMCA,” Williams said. “Renewable energy sources are inexpensive, environmentally friendly, and can provide the YMCA costs savings to improve and expand. the services they provide to the community. Congratulations to the leadership at the YMCA for aggressively seeking funding support through the Department of Mines, Minerals, and Energy and serving as a role model and hopefully a catalyst to green living in our city.”

 

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About the Project

– The Waynesboro YMCA solar thermal energy system is the biggest solar thermal energy project in the state of Virginia.

– The system will consist of 40 panels mounted on custom engineered and built aluminum rack on the building’s flat roof. Each panel has a surface area of 40 square feet bringing the system total to 1,600 square feet of collector area. The rated capacity of this system is 1.6 million BTU.

– The system will be tied in the building’s DHW (domestic hot water) and space heating system and has the potential to save our local YMCA $13,000 a year in energy costs.

– Sigora Solar has designed a “drain back” solar thermal system for the YMCA. This system will have clean fresh water as it’s working fluid. The design of the system allows the differential temperature controller to automatically drain the panels in freezing and overheating conditions. This eliminates the need for glycol/antifreeze as a working fluid.

– A pumping station and a 500 gallon custom built heat storage tank will be installed in one of the Y’s mechanical rooms along with all the heat exchanges and automatized controls. Once the system will be commissioned it will be fully automatic with minimal maintenance required – 2-3 hours a year.

– The project was made possible by a DMME (Virginia Department of Mines Mineral and Energy) grant. The funds for the grant came via the DOE from the ARRA funds.

– The system will be owned by the Waynesboro YMCA and maintained by Sigora Solar.

 

About the Waynesboro Family YMCA

– Since 1957, the Waynesboro Family YMCA has had a long-standing commitment to health and wellness, strengthening the community, and helping people grow in mind, body, and spirit. The Waynesboro Family YMCA has always provided a sense of belonging, people who care, and a choice of positive activities that build skills, teach values, as well as a place to just have fun. At the heart of our community, the YMCA goes beyond sports and recreation when it comes to building healthy individuals and communities. The YMCA serves all age and socio-economic populations and never turns anyone away due to their inability to pay. We served (unduplicated) over 10,000 people last year. We have the largest basketball program in the region, serving over 400 children annually in youth sports. We taught over 300 children to swim last year and we average over 250 people a day utilizing our fitness facility and programming. We are also a significant provider of child care in our community, providing high-quality, affordable care to over 100 children.

 

About Sigora Solar

– Sigora Solar is a Waynesboro-based solar integrator, a contractor that designs and installs solar energy systems both photo-voltaic (PV electricity producing systems) and thermal (domestic hot water and space heating systems). The company takes care of all aspects of a solar energy system installation beginning with solar site analysis, energy consumption audit, system sizing, system design, engineering, permitting, hands on installation, commissioning and finishing with monitoring, maintenance and warranty.

– Sigora Solar is a local start-up that has been in business since April 2011. The company’s HQ/shop/warehouse is located in a 12,000-square-foot building in the River Town complex. The two-story historic industrial building is easily recognized by the 34.2 KWp (roughly 3000 square feet of south facing roof) photo-voltaic solar energy system that Sigora Solar has installed as part of our “we practice what we preach” mantra. The system is by far the biggest system installed on the HQ/building/warehouse of any solar installer in Virginia (until now 12 KWp was the biggest one) and one of the biggest in the nation. All the energy that Sigora Solar uses comes from clean, green, renewable energy produced right on our roof top. The system generates enough surplus, above our usage, that it can fully power 3 average homes.

– The company’s core crew is Andy Bindea, owner and president, Shawn Cooke, chief of operations, Chis Sine, certified solar energy technician, and Allen McCown, sales administrator.


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