WILTON, Conn. – This is the season of lights and at Wilton Library the sentiment rings true with the installation of 408 new solar panels taking place on the library’s rooftop.
Installation will take place over the next three to four weeks, depending upon weather. There will be no disruption of library service or hours while the work takes place on the roof top. The total system should be fully operational by March.
The Wilton Library is embracing solar technology with a new photovoltaic system that will create electricity for its lighting, heating and air conditioning, and computers – all the essentials in the backbone operations of the library.
At 11,000 square feet of total area, the 408 solar panels comprise about 20 percent of a football field collecting the sun’s rays.
“This project has been in the works for a while and the economics, timing, the investors, and the technology have all come together for us to be able to put this in place,” said to Rich Hubli, building operations manager for the library.
Wilton Library researched solar, conducted a Request for Proposal process, analyzed proposals from five installer/investors and awarded the project to Northeast Smart Energy and Soldel.
Northeast Smart Energy, with offices in Hartford and Ridgefield, has worked with nonprofits the size of the library and has extensive experience in constructing this type of installation. Financing is through a Power Purchasing Agreement with Soldel, a private firm based in Norwalk.
“This project is something we’ve all wanted for the library. With an expansive flat roof, it was natural for WLA to employ a solar array for cost savings and reducing our energy footprint," said Rob Sanders, an award-winning architect and vice president of Wilton Library Association’s Board of Trustees.
"Thanks to the state’s C-Pace program, the library does not incur up-front expenses for this project. The investor (Soldel) purchases and installs the system, which generates electricity that is sold to the library at a discounted price. The system will generate energy savings for decades to come.”
Elaine Tai-Lauria, the library’s executive director, said, “We’ve had solar on our wish list for quite some time. With the introduction of new technology and the type of installation we’re doing, the new solar panels will provide about 25 percent of the electricity that the library consumes each year.”
The project has begun with the delivery of all the materials last week.
The library expects to realize about $300,000 in savings on electricity over the term of the agreement, which is renewable for two additional five-year periods.
“We’re also planning an educational component to our new technology with a kiosk that explains what the library is doing, and providing statistics on the energy generated and the savings being realized," Tai-Lauria said. "After all, we are in the business of sharing information and bringing new ideas to the community.”
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