Solar thermal

March 2021 CO: Laurent Meillon has been working on a 2021 law that would grow utility incentive programs for all sorts of positive alternatives to fracked gas heating, and, at long last, possibly include solar thermal in one of our sunny state’s clean energy programs. We’ll discuss the forthcoming legislation and ways you can support. 

Why solar heating? Solar thermal collectors capture 4 times more energy per square foot than their more popular PV brothers, and solar thermal pumps consume almost no electricity compared to heat pumps. Find out more about this often overlooked yet mature and effective technology, understand how it can interface with your existing water heater, forced air furnace, boiler, baseboard heater or radiant floors, pool or hot tub. Understand the basics of panel sizing, solar tank sizing, gravity-fed drain-back systems (versus antifreeze systems), and how these systems can retrofit into existing Colorado buildings. 

About the forthcoming legislation: To help customers use less natural gas, we need to change the outdated ways we calculate costs and savings. Current policies greatly understate the costs of natural gas by not accounting for the pollution and health effects the fossil fuel causes. At the same time, policies greatly underestimate the benefits of alternatives. These include technologies such as solar thermal heating and heat pumps, and efficiency measures such as insulation. By modernizing and expanding gas energy efficiency programs, this bill will help consumers save money while helping reduce greenhouse gases that cause climate change.

About the presenter: Laurent Meillon is a lead author of the Colorado Solar Thermal Roadmap, he serves on the Policy Committee member of the Colorado Renewable Energy Society (CRES), and previously served as an elected board member, treasurer and VP of the Colorado Solar Energy Industries Association (COSEIA, now COSSA). He serves as an expert witness in PUC dockets that affect solar thermal, and is active with the Legislature and the Polis energy team.