By Kevin Beane
Gallup Solar and the Green Building class taught by Chris Chavez at UNM Gallup recently joined forces to refurbish a solar hot air heating system in Gallup. The solar heating system, like many others installed in Gallup in the 1970s, was in need of repair and maintenance. The system was no longer properly functioning and was donated to Gallup Solar by local resident Theresa Diaz, who was interested in seeing the solar heating system put to good use.
The donated solar collector was removed from its rooftop perch and brought to UNM Gallup where students repaired the collector by removing and replacing the glazing, and repainting the absorber plate. The restored solar panel was then installed on the Work in Beauty house in Gallup, the meeting place of Gallup Solar. A new fan was installed, the electronic controller reused, and the rebuilt system now supplies solar-powered heat to the home on cold sunny days.
The collaboration with UNM Gallup is part of an ongoing effort by Gallup Solar to provide skills-based training and education in the solar energy field. Through projects like the collaboration with UNM Gallup, Gallup Solar is helping build Gallup and McKinley County’s capacity to meet current and future energy needs with clean, renewable solar energy. A skilled workforce is an important component in ensuring valuable local jobs in the growing renewable energy field.
Last May students from UNM Gallup’s Green Building class assisted with the installation of a Photovoltaic (solar electric) system on a Habitat for Humanity home in Gallup and, most recently, the class assisted in the installation of a solar hot water-based heating system on the home of Leonard Tom in the Wildcat Springs area of the Navajo Nation.
Gallup Solar is a non-profit organization dedicated to bringing solar energy to Gallup and McKinley County. For information about how to go solar, how to evaluate or refurbish an existing solar hot air heating system, or if you would like to make a tax deductible donation of a system that you are no longer using, please email firstname.lastname@example.org. For more information about Gallup Solar, please visit our website at www.gallupsolar.org.