In the Summer of 2017, McMillan Memorial Library installed a rooftop solar array, but now needs community support to finalize its purchase.
The array moved the Library to a greener future, will save us money and provides green power to our community. Due to innovative financing, the $420,000 project is mostly paid for. Viking Electric, and its owner Scott Prahl, are funding much of the project and utilizing the associated tax credits. The Library Endowment also contributed funds for the project. The Library is relying on community support for the remaining 1/3 of the costs. Fortunately, an as-yet anonymous donor has pledged to match all donations, so our goal is $70,000.
How was the project funded?
No City operational or capital funding was used in this project, though some incidental expenses came from the Library's budget and both Library and City staff were involved in developing the project. The Library Endowment, which exists to undertake such special projects, put a down payment on the system. Viking Electric, who also served as contractor, paid the bulk of the costs and will own the array for the first six years. During that time, they will sell the power generated to the Library and utilize various tax credits. After that time, the Library will buy the project. While the Library Board was developing the project, a donor came forward and pledged to match all donations to the final purchase price, estimated at $140,000. The Library's fundraising goal is $70,000.
How can I support the project?
All donations are welcome and are tax deductible. Donations are accepted at any service desk, in the Business Office and on-line. All donors of $10 or more will receive a certificate and acknowledgement on our donor board. Solar panel donors ($125) will receive a private tour of the solar array. Kilowatt ($500) and Megawatt ($1,000) will receive a framed certificate. Donors can choose to remain anonymous or to forego tours and certificates. Organizations, classroom and families can pool their donations to earn a private tour or other recognition. See our online donations page for more details.
How large is the system?
It is a 235kW array, with 470 panels. Each panel is rated at 500 watts. These are large utility grade panels, noticeably different from most residential panels. The array covers much of the Library's roof. It is projected to produce 250,000 kWh annually, enough for twenty-five average home. This is one of the largest systems in Central Wisconsin and one of the largest on a public building in the state. Despite this, it does not fully meet the Library's current energy needs and the production does not match use. We are open on cloudy days and at night, when production is low or non-existent. Alternatively, will overproduce on sunny days and Sundays. The Library will both buy from and sell to Water Works & Lighting, providing the community with locally produced green power. The Library is also working diligently to reduce its energy usage and to more closely match consumption with production.
How much power is it producing?
Production depend upon how sunny it is and how high the sun is. The array is actually works better in cooler temperatures. You can track production live. When the air condition is not needed, our consumption usually runs under 20kWh, but it can top 40 kWh during the summer. When we produce more than we can use internally, the overproduction is sold to WW&L for use locally.
What happens when it snows?
The snow melts or slides off the panels as soon as its sunny. Unless the snow is deep enough to bury the panels, they quickly clear themselves.