News From Terre Haute, Indiana


April 17, 2011

Solar panels powering hot water in Wabash Valley Correctional Facility inmate living unit

TERRE HAUTE — Hot water for showers is no problem for an inmate living unit equipped with a new solar energy system.

Building “P” at Wabash Valley Correctional Facility has been heating its water through solar panels installed on the roof of the maximum-security housing unit through a project that began in February.

“The system is up and running,” Roger Dagley, WVCF physical plant director, told the prison’s advisory board during a recent tour. “We have to hook up the data control. And we also have two flow meters to hook up to see where we are as far as energy usage.”

One of the those meters will be set up on the new solar-heated water system, while the other meter will be in a different housing unit, so that a comparison of energy usage can be developed.

During a recent check of the new system, which supplies solar-heated water to be used by the offender population for daily showers, every shower head had plenty of hot water in flow, Dagley said.

“P” building houses 200 inmates at the Carlisle prison. It now has 15 solar panels measuring 4 by 10 feet mounted on the roof, with pipes circulating water to the panels. That water will run to a secondary hot water tank to provide additional hot water for the showers and relieve some of the duty of the building’s boiler system.

The panels preheat water to temperatures of 165 degrees, and the system is sized to provide about 40 percent of the thermal energy needed to heat the water. The new system will offset the natural gas needed to heat the water, resulting in a cost savings.

The showers in the building are 18 years old, so as part of the project, the shower system was also  exchanged for a more efficient one.

If the data collected on the new system supports a cost savings, the entire facility could be switched to solar-heated water.

Kevin Orme, director of construction services for the Indiana Department of Correction, said the efficiency of the solar panel system makes it a good project for county jails to look into.

“A single county jail can use the system on top of ‘P’ house,” Orme said. “It does work, and there is grant money out there for counties to use.”

The new system is a $75,000 investment into the building, and is expected to pay for itself in 15 years. The Department of Correction is figuring the system will save $6,000 per year in energy costs.

Lisa Trigg can be reached at (812) 231-4254 or

Text Only | Photo Reprints
Latest News Poll
AP Video
Israeli American Reservist Torn Over Return Six Indicted in StubHub Hacking Scheme Migrants Back in Honduras After US Deports Crash Kills Teen Pilot Seeking World Record Last Mass Lynching in U.S. Remains Unsolved Ariz. Inmate Dies 2 Hours After Execution Began Plane Crashes in Taiwan, Dozens Feared Dead Raw: Funeral for Man Who Died in NYPD Custody Robot Parking Valet Creates Stress-free Travel Raw: Mourners Gather As MH17 Bodies Transported Raw: ISS Cargo Ship Launches in Kazakhstan Broncos Owner Steps Down Due to Alzheimer's LeBron James Sends Apology Treat to Neighbors Former NTSB Official: FAA Ban 'prudent' Biden Decries Voting Restrictions in NAACP Talk Raw: Fight Breaks Out in Ukraine Parliament US, UN Push Shuttle Diplomacy in Mideast Raw: Truck, Train Crash Leads to Fireball Bodies of MH17 Victims Arrive in the Netherlands EPA Gets Hip With Kardashian Tweet
NDN Video
LeBron James -- Dropped $2k On Cupcake Apology ... Proceeds To Benefit Charity Snoop Dogg Says He Smoked Weed at the White House Raw: Fight Breaks Out in Ukraine Parliament Chris Pratt Interrupts Interview To French Braid Intern's Hair Shirtless Super Mario Balotelli Dances While Ironing - @TheBuzzeronFOX Whoa! Watch "Housewives" Star Do the Unthinkable LeBron apologizes to neighbors with cupcakes Justin Bieber In Calvin Klein Underwear Shoot Samsung Pre-Trolls The IPhone 6 With New Ad Jimmy Kimmel Introduces His Baby Girl Swim Daily, Nina Agdal in the Cook Islands Guilty Dog Apologizes to Baby for Stealing Her Toy Prince George Turns 1 and is Already a Trendsetter Train Collides With Semi Truck Carrying Lighter Fluid Kanye West Tells-All on Wedding in "GQ" Interview Tony Dungy Weighs in on Michael Sam Scarlett Johansson Set To Marry In August New Star Wars Episode XII X-Wing Revealed Obama: Putin must push separatists to aid MH17 probe Michigan inmates no longer allowed to wear orange due to 'OITNB'

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.
  • -


    March 12, 2010

Real Estate News