Friday, June 3, 2011

The solar water heating leader of western Iowa

Solar heated water--on the go!
I met Mike Howard of Iron Eagle Technologies about a year ago when he expressed interest in the VELUX solar water heating system.  Mike lives in a small town in the western part of Iowa called Elk Horn and has an uncanny passion for renewable energy.  While not normally the first place I'd rush off to for a sales call, his efforts on the solar PV and electric vehicle fronts captured the attention of CNN and SEIA for their national reporting so I thought to check him out.  My job is to find the right sort of installation partners to help us grow our solar business and Iron Eagle appeared to be a great fit.

Elk Horn happens to have a thriving Danish cultural heritage attraction called the Danish Villages.  Combining his passion for renewable energy, Mike saw an immediate connection with working with VELUX for solar water heating since our parent company is based in Denmark.  Iron Eagle became a VELUX solar 5-star installation partner last summer and immediately began installing solar water heaters throughout the town.  We installed a 4 panel system on the Elk Horn public school for preheating the water going to the cafeteria.  Later we put a smaller 2 panel system on a home in town.  Mike has also installed 8 panels on the roof of his new Norseman Brewery building--a Danish beer brewed with the help of Danish solar panels!  VELUX couldn't have asked for a better solar installation partner.

Just last week, Mike finished a terrific mobile display of a fully functional solar water heating system.  On the roof of the shed, he mounted 2 VELUX solar collectors in a roof-integrated configuration.  On the side of the she, he had a sink and shower installed.  In addition to using this for general promotional efforts, Mike wanted to provide solar heated water for the bike racers of RAGBRAI coming up on July 25th.  He plans to have ice cream, root beer, and samples of his new Norseman Brewing Company beer for the riders in addition to his solar heated water.  He'll be pulling this display to events with his newly wrapped van that sports graphics of the solar PV and water heating products he installs.
Solar projects for Iron Eagle Technologies in Elk Horn, IA

Solar technologies work and are ready for mass market adoption.  The efforts of people like Mike Howard are just the sort of catalyst that we need to make this a reality.


  1. Nice do you think a Solar water heating system would have enough power to heat a indoor pool. Its quite large at around 10m2. My neighbour seem to think it would be ok but i would still need to use the heat pump for some of the heating. what do you think?

  2. Harriet,

    A solar water heating system can work very well as an indoor pool heater. You will need to have a bigger system but having your pool as a storage medium for the solar heat could allow
    for a much more comprehensive solar system without fear of wasting the heat.

    Do you currently have a heat pump serving as a pool heater? If so, the solar water heater would be integrated in a different way than it would be as a primary pool heater. It would be a smaller system but would still be a great way to add a sustainable component to your home's energy profile.

  3. Excellent blog..this will increase as people begin to understand the benefits offered by solar energy.... solar panels

  4. Among the lots of comments on your articles. Thanks for sharing.