ASHEVILLE, N.C. — The University of North Carolina - Asheville (UNCA) expects to cut annual hot water costs in Mills Residence Hall by 29 percent through the installation of a solar hot water system from SolTherm. Compared to its previous energy source, the student dormitory is projected to save more than $81,000 over the life of the system.

The dormitory, which uses an average of 6,000 gallons of hot water per day, was considered to be an ideal facility for the switch to a solar thermal water heating system. The system will consist of 64 solar collector panels which will transfer the sun’s energy to heat the dormitory’s water supply. The water will be stored in an insulated tank and used throughout the day for laundry and showering, allowing hot water to be accessed even when the sun is not shining.

“As anyone involved in this project would tell you, it was a real challenge to pave the way in implementing a third-party ownership model to incorporate clean energy technology on a UNC campus,” said Drew Kitt, SolTherm’s VP of business development. “But the UNC - Asheville facility management team was determined in their sustainability efforts and as a UNCA alumni, I am thrilled to see the project come to fruition.”

UNC-Asheville is the first campus in the UNC system to incorporate a third-party ownership model in order to benefit from clean energy technology without the up-front capital cost through SolTherm’s NoCapEx® program.

NoCapEx is designed to provide immediate solar hot water savings and long-term cost predictability with no capital investment.

“We could not be more thrilled about our partnership with SolTherm,” said Don Gordon, design and construction director. “It is truly exciting to have a team including UNCA alumni contribute to the campus’ sustainability efforts. This project will be one of the first of its kind on a public university campus in the state, and we can hardly wait until it is operational.”

Completion of the system is projected for summer of 2012.

For more information, visit

Publication date: 6/4/2012