Becky's Diner Solar Hot Water
Portland’s famed Becky’s Diner now sports 8 flat plate solar hot water collectors to help wash all those dishes.

The Forecaster reports:

When Becky Rand renovated her iconic diner on Commercial Street four years ago, she wanted to add solar heating panels but couldn’t afford to do it.

She made sure the necessary plumbing was installed, though, so if the funds became available, she would be able to add a solar hot-water system in the future.

So when ReVision Energy called Rand and told her about a grant available through Efficiency Maine and federal stimulus funds, plus a tax incentive, she jumped on the opportunity.

“That made it affordable for me,” Rand said.

Rand worked closely with ReVision over the next year and a half, filling out the many necessary forms and documents to make her solar-heated hot-water system a reality.

Finally, last week, the eight panels and a 160-gallon water tank were installed. Rand said that in the height of the summer, when the diner is the busiest and is using the most hot water, the panels should provide all the heat she needs for hot water.

… “For people like me, with grandchildren, you want to think you’re leaving something nice for your grandchildren,” Rand said. “Maine is special – we don’t appreciate what we have here, how beautiful it is. I want that maintained.”

The system, which is tied in to an existing natural gas heating system, will offset roughly 1,131 therms of natural gas each year and produce 248,000 Btus a day in the summertime. Inside the restaurant is a display panel that tracks system production and tank temperature for real-time analysis of system production.

Next time you’re looking for a nice bowl of chowdah, you can rest easy knowing the water washing your dishes at Becky’s is heated by the sun!