On Thursday, June 1, T.B. Scott Free Library will flip the switch on a new 27.25 kilowatt solar power array expected to provide about 15 percent of the library’s annual electricity usage, according to North Wind Renewable Energy, the project’s installer.
The project includes 79 solar collectors, made in the U.S. and featuring a 25-year warranty. The solar array is located on the south and south-west sides of the roof of the library’s 2001 addition. There will also be a learning kiosk located in the library’s lobby level where the public, in real-time, can track the solar project’s performance and the library’s overall energy usage, providing a valuable educational component.
At 1 p.m. on June 1, the public is invited to join library board members, contractors who brought the project to fruition and library staff to a grand switch-flipping that takes a significant step toward energy savings and environmental awareness. Refreshments will be provided.
“The goal with this project was two-fold. Not only will the solar array help us reduce our monthly consumption of power — it will also provide an outstanding educational opportunity for our schools and our community,” affirms Stacy Stevens, T.B. Scott Free Library’s Director.
Based on average solar energy production for our area, the system is projected to generate about 30,000 kilowatt-hours of electricity each year. Additional electricity will still be provided by Wisconsin Public Service. With the combination of the array’s size and site limitations due to the historic aspect of the 1911 Carnegie library building, it is certain that the panels will not generate more energy than the library will use.
The system, which includes an inverter and power optimizers providing three-phase, 208-volt alternating current electricity, is expected to save the library significantly in energy costs over its 30-50 year lifetime.
The T.B. Scott Free Library solar project was funded entirely through outside sources. Legacy Solar Co-Op Solar Bonds purchased by local residents, a generous donation by Church Mutual, and an allocation from the T.B. Scott Free Library Endowment Fund were combined to fully fund the project’s cost.
North Wind Renewable Energy Cooperative, an employee-owned company based in Stevens Point, has been designing and installing solar power systems throughout Wisconsin since 2007.