New Mexico’s Kirtland Air Force Base installed the first active solar water heating system on an Air Force facility in December 2010. The base now captures the sun’s energy to heat the aquatic center on base. The solar water heating installation comprises an array of 72 collectors that transfer heat to a closed-loop water and propylene glycol mixture. This mixture is pumped to a heat exchanger that preheats water for the pool.
The system is estimated to produce 76 percent of the energy required to heat the indoor pool with savings of $32,000 per year. Locally owned and operated 310 Solar and Western Solutions of Pennsylvania partnered on the design and engineering of the project. The 377th Air Base Wing Civil Engineer Division will manage continued operation of the system. The base is currently in the planning stages of another solar energy project.