Research Project Information

Research Project Summary Information

MTA Coney Island Train Yard Solar Hot Water Heating System(ST9915-1)

New York Power Authority


The Coney Island Train Yard is currently relying on an inefficient 4,000 gallon electric water heating system rated at 240 kW, to provide 100% of the process hot water load needed in its industrial overhaul and repairing processes. The New York Power Authority (NYPA) has proposed an alternative solar water heating system based on the vacuum-tube solar collector technology. This technology is underused in New York State and across the U.S., and rising prices for oil and natural gas make this technology an increasingly important option for process hot water loads. Europe is far ahead of the U.S. in the adoption of solar thermal technology. By 2000, Europe had already installed about 9.7 million m2 of solar collectors into operation, while the U.S. total was around 47,000 square meters by 2004. Furthermore, most of the U.S. collectors were the flat plate type, most commonly used for residential hot water systems (110-140 Degrees F) in warmer climate zones (Florida, Arizona, California), but not as suitable for higher temperature industrial hot water loads (140-200 Degrees F) and colder regions like the Northeast. In the U.S. industrial sector in 2003 and 2004, vacuum-tube shipments were less than 50 square meters of collector area, while the total vacuum-tube shipments for all U.S. sectors were recorded at less than 190 square meters. This project alone will install over 200 square meters of vacuum-tube solar collectors at the Coney Island Train Yard.

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Project Description

NYPA will oversee the procurement and installation of the system. System performance will be monitored for six months. NYPA will undertake several technology transfer activities targeting other NYPA customers that also could reduce electric water heating loads. The project will measure peak demand reduction at the site (kW), energy savings (kWh), and emissions reduction.


The Coney Island Train Yard can expect to avoid an estimated $24,000 from annual electric cost after the installation of the solar hot water system. The facility should receive up to 80% of its process hot water heating from the sun. This reduction in electric usage provides the following benefits: - Freeing 240 kW of load availability from the electric grid - Reducing 1,520,000 kWh electric used annually - Increasing productivity due to less-stressed local electric grid (reduced downtime) - Reducing fossil fuel used to generate electricity - Reducing of an estimated 100 tons of greenhouse gases - Increasing the awareness and popularity of vacuum-tube solar thermal systems - Increasing new job opportunities from the increased use of solar thermal systems. In addition, the technology results will be disseminated to other NYPA customers with similar process water heating loads, which may result in significant replication.

Project Results

The solar hot water system was the first of its kind to be installed and operational within the U.S. The system uses water instead of the typical glycol solution as the heat transfer fluid. As a result, the water can absorb 15% more heat than the glycol solution and proves to be much cheaper with maintenance costs. Also, due to the system's being installed only in Europe, it needed to be tested, and pass, strict New York State Codes. Stringent testing was conducted and the system proved to be competent under the 120 mph wind requirement. This will now open doors to Paradigma Energie (manufacturer) to expand their market across New York State. About 70-80% of the high temperature process hot water at the facility is now supplied through this system. The use of this renewable energy source replaced the 240 kW electric water heating system and eliminated the associated electric load and over 1560,000 kWh of annual energy consumption. This equates to roughly $100,000 of annual energy savings. Additionally, the system sees a greenhouse gas reduction of over 160,000 lbs. annually.


New York Power Authority
1 Barney Road Suite 240
Clifton Park, NY 12065

Principle Investigator

Ke He

Universities Involved


Project Type:

On-site Process Improvement

Technologies Types:

Process Heating/Cooling

NYSERDA Contact Information

Ashley Cox


Strategic Operations

Contract Details

Start Date: 1/11/2010
Project Status: Active
Contract Number: ST9915-1

Last Updated: 9/24/2013