Solar array will serve multiple functions for libraryPower source is also educational, demonstration project
Lincolnville — With the aid of a grant from Efficiency Maine, the Lincolnville Community Library began installation of a solar electric system July 29.
Working with solar energy company ReVision Energy, which has offices in Liberty and Portland, library volunteers wrote the grant proposal for $15,000, which will include an education component, said volunteer Cindy Dunham. A meter monitor on the outside of the building will make it possible to view the amount of power produced by the system, and the library will offer programs for students at Lincolnville Central School, she said.
The library will also have portable monitors available for residents to borrow so they can check how much electricity their appliances are using, Dunham said.
Another reason Efficiency Maine accepted the library's proposal was that, with a footprint of 24 by 34 feet and an electricity usage similar to many Maine households, the library is a good model for energy conservation and renewable technologies that could be adopted statewide, according to a press release about the project sent out by ReVision.
In addition to the grant, the library put $6,000 toward the project, and ReVision donated $4,000 worth of labor to install the solar array on the south-facing roof of the building. Revision General Manager John Luft and Marketing Director Jennifer Albee were at the library to talk to the media Wednesday, July 30. The system consists of 30, 260-watt panels, for a total output of 7.8 kilowatts, or about 9,600 kilowatt-hours annually, Luft said. He added that it will provide power for the lights, computers, water heater and the air-source heat pump used for heating and cooling the building. The cost to run the heat pump will be equivalent to an oil-fired system if oil were $1.60 a gallon, he said.
Luft said it was likely the system would generate more power than the library needs, which could either be re-directed elsewhere in town -- say to the Lincolnville Boat Club across the street or the Town Office -- or returned to the grid for credit against power usage when there is less available sunshine for making electricity.
Sarah E. Reynolds is copy editor for the Courier Gazette and Camden Herald.
Sarah E. Reynolds has been a reporter and writer for more than 20 years, winning awards from the Maine Press Association and other professional organizations. She loves to read, ride her ATV and play word games.