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Warming house gets a valuable donation, teaches volunteers valuable skills

The warming house for Pine River’s ice rink received a valuable source of free warm air Jan. 18.

The solar heating panel, installed by construction manager Jim Kestner, along with Jessica Aasand, Shannon Wheeler and Theo Westhues, was donated by the Rural Renewable Energy Alliance (RREAL). The panel, along with installation costs, is typically worth an estimated $3,000.

Kestner said this 26-square-foot panel is capable of producing 115,000 BTUs of heat per square foot from roughly October to April. That is 2,990,000 BTUs.

In addition, the installation served as a training experience for Aasand, Wheeler and Westhues, three AmeriCorps members receiving training in solar heating panel installation with RREAL this year. Westhues and Aasand have left the Pine River area for Ames, Iowa, and Grand Forks, N.D., respectively. Wheeler is stationed in Pine River until December.