Sun Bandit Produces Solar Hot Water In Sub-Zero Temperatures to Heat Dwellings and Grow Fresh Produce North of the Arctic Circle

The world’s first solar hydroponic trailer to grow fresh produce north of the Arctic Circle.

Freezing temperatures are no longer a barrier to solar hot water production.

Next Generation Energy’s Sun Bandit celebrated the Summer Solstice by shedding light on the first off-grid photovoltaic (PV) solar water heating solution to heat water, channel stored energy into radiant heating and hydroponically grow fresh vegetables in sub-zero temperatures — NORTH of the Arctic Circle.

The 26-foot Solar Hydroponic Trailer manifesting this innovation is located in the enterprising village of Kotzebue, Alaska, the hub of 11 Native Alaskan villages in the state’s Northwest Arctic Borough. Kotzebue is 26 miles north of the Arctic Circle, in the Land of the Midnight Sun. It’s an inspiring time to celebrate the power of solar energy — and Sun Bandit’s expanded solar applications.

The Solar Hydroponic Trailer is the brainchild of Ingemar Mathiasson and solar thermal veteran Mark Houston, founder and CEO of Anchorage-based The Comforts of Home, LLC. A Passive House Institute (PHIUS)-certified* contractor/energy rater, Houston has been advising clients on energy conservation and alternative energy concepts for 30 years.

“For the first time, we can keep the trailer at 74 degrees in sub-zero temperatures, which allows growing to begin as early as March,” said Houston. “We are collecting solar energy, converting it to heat, and running it through a glycol-based radiant floor and wall panel that provides all of the heat we need to grow a bounty of fresh produce in often-dark, bitter-cold conditions for about nine months of the year.”

The project was inspired when Mathiasson, the energy coordinator representing the…

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