Conservation Corps Iowa showcased the first home with a so-called “solar furnace” at a recent open house event in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, according to a report from The home belongs to the Hawkeye Area Community Action Program and is used for families in transitional housing. Two large, joined solar panels hang on an outside wall. Since installation last fall, the system has cut the heating bills at the HACAP home by 20%.

The system works similar to most solar panels, KCRG says. Sunlight, even in winter, heats components inside the panel. A control system inside the home distributes the warm air throughout the house. It helps, but doesn’t replace a regular furnace.
At least 300 homes belonging to lower-income families in Minnesota have had the systems installed as a way to help those families permanently reduce the need for heating assistance money.

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