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John Hippensteel: The State of Solar Thermal also Solar Aesthetics

Elevator pitch

Can solar be aesthetically pleasing and blend in with our environment? Let’s see, keeping in mind beauty is in the eye of the beholder and based on our understanding of the technology. Also, you could buy solar hot water heating systems from the Sears Catalog in the early 1900s. In some places around the world, if you have hot water, it comes from solar hot water heating systems. With collectors that are three times more efficient than solar electric modules, is solar thermal being overlooked?


John Hippensteel is an Energy Instructor at NWTC teaching in the Solar Energy Technology Program. After graduation from the Univ. of Minn. Institute of Technology in Mechanical Engineering John served as an appropriate technology advisor in the Peace Corp in The Gambia, West Africa. Upon returning to the U.S. John worked in the industrial refrigeration industry designing heat exchangers and industrial refrigeration systems where energy efficiency is a must. For the last 25 years John has owned a design build engineering firm that concentrates in renewable energy systems, and has worked on projects worldwide. John is a registered Professional Engineer in the state of Wisconsin and has held these NABCEP certifications: PV Professional Installer, PV Technical Sales, and Solar Heating Installer.

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