America’s largest solar thermal plant is operational

On the roof of the Stapelton-Spence Packing Company a solar system with an area of over 1,900 m2 has been installed. Full-polymer collectors by the company Fafco preheat the source water by up to 30°. The water is then fed to a gas boiler, which thus requires less energy to achieve the desired temperature.
Fafco calculates that the system will produce almost 1,100 MWh of thermal energy a year. This equates to over $ 20,000 of saved gas costs a year.

At its Gridley site Stapelton-Spence packs fruit, nuts and plums. Dried fruit is moisturised again using steam. The investment should already pay off financially within three and a half years. This is partly helped by the Californian support conditions. The system was supported with a $ 476,000 grant from the California Solar Initiative (CSI). The programme has a total budget of approx. $ 280 million available for solar thermal installations.

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