2012 - Volume #36, Issue #6, Page #11[ Sample Stories From This Issue | List of All Stories In This Issue | Print this story | Read this issue]
Sun Tanks Use Solar Power To Keep From Freezing
Mark Ames developed the product for his own horses. One of his original prototypes from 18 years ago still works great.
BT Sun Tanks come in two sizes Ė 25 gal. or 42 gal. Ė that are insulated for up to an R-50 rating. The tank has a float valve on top that is about 2 in. thick.
When first installed, leave the float off, Ames says, to teach horses or other livestock how to use it. Once they are used to it, replace the float and put a little grain on it, if necessary. Livestock are used to breaking ice and usually learn quickly to push the float down to get water.
The shatterproof solar-powered collector on front is the key to keeping the water from freezing.
Itís a passive solar system, he adds, and water is a great source to store energy, so the tanks stay ice-free even when itís cloudy for a few days.
Ames offers two sizes and options, starting with the 25-gal. for $489 (manual fill) or $542 (auto fill) which are good to minus 20 degrees. The 42-gal. BT Sun Tank is $672, good to minus 50 degrees, and works with manual or auto fill. Shipping is additional. Ames also sells BT Tank Trailers that hold 100 gal. of water. They can be pulled with an ATV to fill Sun Tanks in remote locations.
Ames offers discounts for multiple orders and notes that a government program through USDA-NRCS covers up to 50 percent of the costs for Sun Tanks and installation of a waterline for eligible farmers.
The BT Sun Tank also works well in the summer because the float keeps the water covered, and algae canít grow without sunlight. You cover the solar panel to stop it from heating.
Amesís company has shipped tanks north into Alaska and south to the Grand Canyon.
Contact: FARM SHOW Followup, Pine Ranch Products, LLC., P.O. Box 281, Santa Clara, Utah 84765 (ph 435 656-0229; www.ranchtanks.com).
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