Jasper County Jail Cuts Vitality Prices in Half with New Solar ArrayJasper County Jail Cuts Vitality Prices in Half with New Solar Array

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Jasper County’s prison commandant Justin Burkhart values ​​a comfortable prison. For years, this rural Indiana correctional facility struggled to keep MPs, staff, and inmates warm in winter, cool in summer, and to pay for energy bills that rose to over $ 25,000 a month.

“It got so cold that we had to give occupants extra blankets and sweatshirts, and so hot that we had to add plug-in fans. We have a lot of complaints, ”he said.

Fortunately, there are no complaints now. Jasper County Jail, Jasper County Commissioners, and local dignitaries were accompanied by Trane Technologies and Solential Energy to a ceremony to cut green ribbons in the overhaul of the facility’s new solar system and power system. The project has resolved issues that have persisted since the prison was built in 2007 and made it possible to cut monthly energy bills in half.

Kendell Culp, president of Jasper County Commissioners, said the county had met with several companies to improve the prison’s energy systems and control costs. The Trane Solential team was the only one who recommended an energy audit and solar power. “They examined the building and our problems before coming up with a strategy that included adding a solar panel. With the energy savings forecast, the solar system is paying off. This is a huge win for Jasper County. “

At the center of the celebration is a floor-mounted solar system with 2,232 panels installed by Solential Energy of Carmel, Indiana, on 3.5 acres next to the prison. The system has an annual generation capacity of 1.1 million kilowatt hours and is expected to cover 50 to 100 percent of the prison’s electricity needs. Even on snowy days in February, the solar system produced 50 percent of the prison’s energy needs and impressed Sheriff Pat Williamson of Jasper County. The solar system contains a cloud-based remote monitoring system called Solview that allows the sheriff and others to monitor the system’s energy output and other data in real time.

“In the past, I haven’t paid much attention to the prison’s energy system other than our monthly bills and complaints about how cold the prison was. With our own solar system and other upgrades, we are now lowering our energy bills and being able to maintain comfortable temperatures throughout the prison. I am in the real-time monitoring system throughout the day and follow our energy generation and use. Saving taxpayers money on energy is a huge benefit, ”says Sheriff Williamson.

Brian Pickering of Trane Technologies, who worked closely with the Jasper County Commissioners and prison officials on the project, says the interest of correctional institutions, city and county governments, and school districts who control energy costs while controlling constituents and the population, Solar energy increases employees with safe, comfortable surroundings. “The COVID-19 pandemic and changes in national policies have helped raise awareness of renewable energy and improve energy efficiency and indoor air quality. What’s exciting is that there is now federal funding to help state and local governments and school districts take advantage of green energy and indoor air quality solutions. “

As part of the ribbon cutting ceremony at Jasper County Jail, Jim Shaw, CEO of Solential Energy, will offer tours of the solar array that will soon be planted with a pollinator habitat of native Indiana flowers and grasses. Shaw will also demonstrate the Solview remote monitoring system.

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