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Extension > Regional Sustainable Development Partnerships > Central > Costs and Benefits of Solar Thermal and Wood Boiler Combination Systems

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Costs and Benefits of Solar Thermal and Wood Boiler Combination Systems


This study will quantify the costs and benefits of combining solar thermal systems with wood boilers to offset wood consumption and reduce pollution. Both flat plate and evacuated tube systems will be examined for their impact in the cold climate of Minnesota. This project represents a priority area selected by the Central Minnesota region during the 2013 Clean Energy Resource Teams statewide conference, as well as a priority of the Energy Work Group of the University of Minnesota Central Region Sustainable Development Partnership.

The Central Region Clean Energy Resource Team (CERTs) will help with the education phase of the project and dissemination of the research findings. CERTs will feature the findings through their regional gatherings. Additionally, RREAL will present the findings at the next Statewide CERTs conference where energy advocates from around the state gather to learn about the community-University project partnership.



  1. Identify existing sites of wood boiler and solar water heating integration
  2. Assemble greatest sample size
  3. Model reference systems
  4. Design and conduct simulations
  5. Conduct financial and economic analysis
  6. Compile report
  7. Disseminate report


  1. System designs for both flat pate and evacuated tube collectors
  2. Measured energy savings for existing systems and software simulations of the energy savings of conceptual systems
  3. Environmental emission reduction estimates
  4. Economic impact of systems

Long term outcomes include pollution reduction and regional economic benefit through a greater number of solar thermal systems in combination with wood boilers.



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