Green Energy Production Produces Sizeable Rebates

The library’s Solar Test-bed project qualifed for two alternative energy rebate programs for energy production in 2011. The larger rebate through the Arkansas Energy Office (AEO), was funded by the American Reinvestment and Recovery Act of 2009.

Library staff reported solar power production to the AEO on a monthly basis. The value reported was the total kilo-watt hours of energy produced by the solar array each month. The total production for 2011 was 20,547 kWh netting the library a rebate of $30,821.10 paid in quarterly installments.

The second rebate was sponsored by library’s local electric service provider, AEP/Swepco. The rebate was for the same period, Jan – Dec, 2011 and totaled $3,592.60.

The library plans to save the solar rebate income to fund additional green projects and initiatives.

You may view real-time energy production information from the solar array by visiting SolrenView.

Solar Rebate Approved by Arkanas Energy Office

The Fayetteville Public Library’s solar test-bed installation received final approval in January for the solar rebate program throught the Arkansas Energy Office. The rebate program is funded by the American Reinvestment and Recovery Act of 2009.

The library is required to report monthly energy production from the solar array. Data acquisition from the array is made possible by the SolrenView device connected to the inverter (mfr by Solectria). The SolrenView module posts energy production over the internet every minute. You may view the real-time data and query the historical production at the following site:

Inverter production data

Library to Host Public Project Presentation, Aug 24th

The Fayetteville Public Library will host a public presentation of its recently-installed Solar Test Bed Project on Tuesday, August 24 at 6:30 p.m. in the library’s Walker Community Room.

The library installed 60 solar panels on its roof in June. Since that time, the panels have been producing electrical power, helping to offset the library’s energy costs each month.

A kiosk in the lobby displays real time energy production data from the solar array and provides educational information on solar power.

The solar panels were funded through a $60,000 grant from the International City/County Management Association.

To accomplish the installation of the solar panels, the library worked with numerous community groups, including AEP / SWEPCO, Arkansas Energy Office, Arkansas Power Electronics International, BP Solar, Campbell Electric, City of Fayetteville, Engineering Consultants Inc., Garver Engineering, Multi-Craft Contractors, National Center for Reliable Electric Power Transmission, Unirac, United Rentals, Zero Mountain, Lowe’s and the University of Arkansas.

The public presentation will offer an overview of the grant process, the challenges faced and opportunities that were presented during the installation process and a look at the finished product. The project team will answer questions from the audience following the presentation.

The program is free and open to the public.

For more information, call 856.7250.

ICMA Public Library Innovation Meeting in DC

Innovation grant recipients at ICMA Leadership and Professional Development meeting, August 13th, 2010

Innovation grant recipients at ICMA Leadership and Professional Development meeting, August 13th, 2010

City officials and library staff attended the final ICMA innovation grant meeting in the nation’s captial August 11-13, 2010. Representing the City of Fayetteville were Don Marr, the mayor’s  chief of staff, and John Coleman, city director of sustainability. Library director of information technology, Lynn Yandell, represented the library. The meeting was hosted by granting organization, ICMA, and attended by all nine library’s receiving an innovation grant.

The three day meeting focused on “The Power of Who” and was comprised of breakout sessions, professional development talks, a tour of Westover Branch Public Library, and dinner at the Library of Congress. Lee Rainie, director or the Pew Internet Project, gave a talk to the group after the dinner titled ”Creating Your Own Digital Strategy.”

Press Conference and Installation Videos

Streaming video of the construction phase kickoff press conference held June 4th:

Press Conference

Streaming video of the Unirac construction and panel installation, June 14th-26th:

Installation

July 30th – Solar Kiosk Rollout

Patrons interact with the solar test-bed education kiosk located in the Blair library lobby.
Patrons interact with the solar test-bed education kiosk located in the Blair library lobby.

July 30th, 2010 – The library rolled out the educational kiosk for the solar test-bed project. The solar kiosk development was funded by grant through the Arkansas Energy Office.

The upper portion of the kiosk has 5 main areas of information:

1) ICMA Grant Project History

2) Hardware Compenents

3) Installation Photo Gallery

4) How Solar Works

5) Project Partnerships

The lower portion of the kiosk shows real-time energy production data from the Solectria inverter. Patrons can view AC power and energy data for the day, by hour and view historical energy production.

June 25th – Solar Array Goes Online

Engineering students Matthew Bell and Jeremy Pearman (holding meter) checking DC voltage prior to inverter startup.

Engineering students Matthew Bell and Jeremy Pearman (holding meter) checking DC voltage prior to inverter startup.

On Friday, June 25th at approximately 2:30pm (CDT) the solar array was brought online to a bright sunny day in Fayetteville. Within minutes the system ramped up to producing near 10kW of power. Many factors including clouds, temperature, and angle of the sun will cause production to flucuate. The array has a theoretical maximum output of 13.5kW and has produced as high as 13kW since the inverter was brought online.

During the previous week, the solar team installed conduit, ran the wires to each PV string and installed the combiner box on the roof. A PV string is a group of modules (solar panels) connected in series. The library’s solar installation has six of these strings. Each “string” consists of ten solar panels. Each panel can produce 225 Watts. The combiner box brings all the strings together and combines them into two wires, a positive and a negative. The library’s solar installation has six strings so there are 6 sets of positive and negative wires that combined into two. These two wires run down conduit to the electrical room and into the Solectria inverter chosen by the students. The inverter changes the direct current (DC) produced by the solar panels into alternating current  (AC) that the library can send into the utility. The inverter outputs 3-phase, 480-volt AC power.

Click here to view real-time inverter direct solar energy production.

Engineering students and professor Dr. Roy McCann (kneeling) install grounding wire.

Students and professor Dr. Roy McCann running the ground wire.

Pulling wires to the combiner box.

Pulling wires to the combiner box.

June 14th – Unirac Mount Constructed & Panels Mounted

Solar Install Team

Solar installation team photo after all 3 arrays were completed, June 16th, 2010

The construction phase of the library’s ICMA Solar Test Bed grant project went into high gear on Monday, June 14th, when the solar team began assembling the Unirac ULA array mounts and securing the solar panels. The solar team is comprised of industry partners, University of Arkansas engineering students and professors, and library staff.

The mounting bases were set on the roof the previous week by project partner Multi-Craft, Inc. Multi-Craft donated the use of their large crane and full rigging crew to set the bases on the ellipse roof. Library facilites staff cut the roof membrane and bolted the feet of the bases to the reinforced concrete to provide a secure mount for the solar arrays. Afterwards, roofers were brought in to re-seal the white reflective roof membrane, another green feature of the facility.

Electrical engineering student Matthew Bell bolts down the ULA feet.

Electrical engineering student Matthew Bell bolts down the ULA feet.

Monday morning engineering professors Dr. Alan Mantooth, Dr. Roy McCann and Dr. Bill Springer worked with their engineering students and library staff to begin the Unirac assembly. After reviewing the assembly plans provided by Unirac for the ULA (ultra large array) mounting system in the library staff training room, the team began forming a plan of attack. The ULA pieces were laid out and counted to confirm all parts necessary were on hand. Assembly started with the upright steel posts, by screwing them into  steel plates/feet. The steel posts were measured, cut and threaded by library staff prior to Monday.

Once the uprights were set, the horizontal support bars were connected and installed in the ULA joining brackets. The horizontal bars support the aluminum rails that hold the PV (photo voltaic) panels in place.

Once the Unirac ULA structures were complete it was time to begin installing the panels. Students carried the 60 panels one by one (20 for each ULA mount) and helped secured the panels to the mounts.

University of Arkansas engineering students carrying panels to the Unirac mount.

University of Arkansas engineering students carrying panels to the Unirac mount.

Engineering students bolt the solar panels to the Unirac ULA mount.

Engineering students bolt the solar panels to the Unirac ULA mount.

June 4th – Solar Array Roof Mounting Brackets Go Up

Project partner Multi-Craft, Inc. setting array roof mounting brackets.
Project partner Multi-Craft, Inc. setting array roof mounting brackets.

On June 4th, the library held a press conference thanking our project partners and kicked off the construction phase of the solar test bed. The speakers included library Executive Director – Shawna Thorup, Mayor of Fayetteville – Lioneld Jordan, and solar project team member and engineering professor Dr. Alan Mantooth.

Local project partner Multi-Craft, Inc. donated use of their large crane and labor to set the solar array mounting brackets on the library roof.

The array mounting brackets weigh around 2,000 pounds each. There are three of these brakets that will be the mounting points for the three arrays of 20 panels each (total of 60 in the system). The arrays are located on the roof ellipse approximately 80 feet from the ground necessitating the large crane to set the brackets safely.

March 2010 Quarterly Report

First quarterly report of 2010 submittied to ICMA in early April. Click the link below for the full report:

ICMA March 2010 Quarterly Report