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Solar Panels Used In Fish Hatchery

Solar panels are being used for a variety of commercial businesses with a company in Neosho, Newton County, Missouri, United States about to start utilising them at a fish hatchery.

The Neosho National Fish Hatchery has had 24 large solar panels installed measuring 96 inches by 48 inches facing in a southerly direction. They are to be used to warm the water in six of the tanks containing the fish in an effort to conserve energy. This is the latest project to be put in place by the hatchery in their endeavours to go green.

Neosho National Fish Hatchery
(image credit: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service – Midwest Region)

Interestingly, it is the sturgeon that has been declared an endangered species that is to benefit from the installation of these solar panels. Apparently, the warm water will help them grow in size and weight quicker enabling them to be placed into the wild at a faster pace than normal.

Dave Hendrix is the manager at the hatchery who said: “Having to pump well water and heat it is very expensive. We will save a lot of money with this solar project. The electric company probably won’t like us as much when we get the system fully working.”

The solar panel project started around 2/3 years ago at a time when the hatchery was grateful to receive a grant in respect of fish and wildlife energy. Crowder College, that is local to the hatchery, has some experience with solar panels and, therefore, was asked by the hatchery to lead the development with the work being carried out by contractors.

At the moment the water in the tanks is at 62 degrees but will rise to around 70 degrees that is the perfect temperature to bring up sturgeon.

Less water will be needed meaning that the electric pumps will not need to “put as much effort in” thus it is forecast that considerable savings will be made.

The hatchery was constructed taking conservation into account with the visitor centre being awarded a Gold LEED rating. The hatchery was also proud to receive the Department of Energy’s 2012 Energy and Water Management Award.

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