FPL Hosts Sustainability Series

The Fayetteville Public Library will kick off a four-part going-green series on Saturday, January 16, from 10 a.m. to noon.

The Green Your Life Series will focus on simple ways to achieve a more energy-efficient lifestyle by introducing elements such as weatherization, recycling, water conservation and solar energy options, such as adding solar panels.

The series will continue on February 20 and March 20. The final program of the series on April 17 will include a reverse trade show, putting homeowners in touch with the businesses that can help them achieve their sustainability goals.

Full press release here

4th Quarter Report to ICMA

Report for the period 9/1/2009 – 12/31/2009

Accomplishments and activities during this period:

1. Conducted major reviews of project plan
   a. Faculty design review
   b. Project team design review
2. Presented project overview at Urban Library Council’s Partners Conference on
December 3, 2009: Building a Regional Green Economy by Shawna Thorup
(Fayetteville Public Library, Executive Director) and Don Marr (City of
Fayetteville, Mayor’s Chief of Staff)
   a. Slides attached
   b. Presentation selected for highlighting in Urban Library Council newsletter
3. Selected and ordered Solectria 13kW, 480v, 3-phase commercial grid-tie inverter
4. Secured reduced price from BP for solar panels which will allow us to greatly
increase the size of the solar array.
5. Structural mounting design plans underway based on component selection
6. Educational kiosk hardware selection is complete.
   a. The display will be a 37’ interactive touch-screen system from DT
Research. This will tie into the library’s existing digital signage
infrastructure and management system.
   b. The mount will be a mobile system from Forms and Surfaces similar to the one seen here:


7. Secured appropriate permits

2nd Quarterly Report Submitted to ICMA

Quarterly report for period 7/1/2009 – 9/30/2009

Completed activities & accomplishments:

• Refined team process and roles
• Completed team building activities
• Created communication grid with master contact list
• Wrote preliminary scope of work document
• Finalized student design teams
• Finalized project plan
• Began developing educational content for kiosk
• Held consistent project team meetings
• Received Net Metering License from American Electric Power
• Documented and published progress via the project’s information tracking
website (www.fplsolar.org)

Projected activities for the next period:

1. Major review process of project plan
   a. Faculty design review
   b. Project team design review
   c. Public design review
2. Continue documenting and publishing progress
3. Inverter Selection and Configuration –
   a. Three-Phase 480Volt versus Single-Phase 240 Volt
4. PV Panel Selection (type, vendor, etc.)
   a. Kyocera KD 205GX-LP (501015)
   b. Evergreen Solar ES-A-205-FA3B
5. PV Panel Electrical Configuration (voltage, series/parallel, disconnects, wiring,
etc., inclination angles):
   a. Configuration to support the inverter and panel selections
6. PV array mounting structure (with Mechanical Engineering Department )
   a. Structural mounting design underway based on component selection
7. Kiosk design (data, software)
   a. Open data source from the inverter selection
8. Sensors (voltage, temperature, current, power) and data collection/analysis (kiosk
9. Secure appropriate permits


Net metering application diagrams

Solar Test-bed project Scope of Work

ICMA follow-up to quarterly report

ICMA staff called to discuss our quarterly project report. They asked a series of questions ranging from clarification to what we’d reported to probing questions to shape the outcomes assessment. Here is a sampling of what we were asked.

Q. What is “net metering”?

A. Net metering enables customers to use their own generation to offset their consumption over a billing period by allowing their electric meters to turn backwards when they generate electricity in excess of the their demand. See the U.S. Dept. of Energy’s  The Green Power Network for more information.

Q. What sort of reception/support has the project received from local elected officials?

A. Mayor Lioneld Jordan has been a huge champion of the project and has backed it with the involvement of Chief of Staff Don Marr and Sustainability Coordinator John Coleman. The City is looking at ways to duplicate the project. Although not an elected official, Fayetteville Chamber of Commerce President & CEO Steve Clark immediately recognized the economic development potential of the project and is also a strong supporter.

As we continue our work, ICMA asked us to be mindful of the following.

  1. How are “champions” created for a project?
  2. What do “champions” do?
  3. What would make the partnership between the library and the city stronger?
  4. What are the challenges to partnering between the library and the city?

1st Quarterly Report Submitted to ICMA

The first project report has been submitted to ICMA. We reported these major accomplishments/activities.

  • Net metering application has been filed with American Electric Power (AEP).
  • Currently refining scope of work needed for City permits and team clarity.
  • Professors have begun the student selection process for this project.
  • Solar panel analysis is underway. Current market and demand could drive costs down so we are waiting to purchase panels in order to better analyze pricing trends.
  • Grant dollars have been received from Arkansas Energy Office to begin development of education kiosk. Currently researching kiosk hardware.
  • Information tracking website has been deployed (www.fplsolar.org). This website will be used for marketing, project tracking, and education going forward.
  • Solar Test-Bed Project is set to be duplicated by the Arkansas Research & Technology Park. Imitation is the best form of flattery.

What we really achieved this quarter, though, is a truer understanding of the meaning of “partnership.”

We learned that it is necessary to think deeply about the desired partnership outcomes at the start of the project and develop a set of ground rules and tasks to achieve them. When we say “partnership” outcome, we mean that we want to successfully conclude the technical aspects of the project and have had such a good interpersonal experience that we want to partner with the team members again.  In short, we want to feel good about the project and the process when it concludes.  So what we would tell another community is that you cannot undo a bad experience, but you can build upon a good one.  A good one takes some thought, planning and effort right at the start.

FPL Director Presents Solar Project at ALA


The Fayetteville Public Library’s Executive Director, Louise Schaper, presented the ICMA Solar Test Bed Project at the American Library Association’s annual conference in July of 2009. The  powerpoint slideshow may be downloaded here (MS Office Powerpoint 2007):

Presentation for American Library Association Annual Conference, Chicago, July 11, 2009

Project Timeline

Timeline: Solar Test Bed Project at the Fayetteville Public Library


  • The project will begin in the fall of 2009. Students in the senior design class at the University of Arkansas’ College of Engineering will design, construct and install with the latest “off the shelf” technology for a grid-tied solar application, including an inverter and 48 solar arrays capable of generating 10 kilowatts of renewable energy. The initial setup will include a Xantrex GT30 inverter and 48 solar arrays from Kyocera. The solar arrays will be mounted on a rotating frame designed by electrical engineering students to follow the sun throughout the day and maximize energy output.


  • After six months of monitoring, the library will add a silicon carbide (SiC) inverter being developed locally by Arkansas Power Electronics International, a small business located in the Arkansas Research and Technology Park incubator. The SiC inverter’s performance will be compared with the standard inverter to demonstrate the improvements in efficiency. Additional solar arrays added over time using thin-cell solar technology being developed at the University of Arkansas will allow real-world testing of thin-cell solar technology.


  • The Arkansas Energy Office has pledged $8,500 toward an education kiosk at the library to display real-time energy data from the solar arrays and time-lapse images to illustrate solar tracking, as well as literature on the importance of renewable energy and how the process works. The kiosk feature will make the Solar Test-Bed project accessible to the library’s more than 2,000 daily visitors. A project website will provide information and real-time data. Tours will be provided to stakeholders, students and investors for evaluation and education.


  • The solar test bed at the library will provide power to the library, reducing energy use and carbon footprint. The higher efficiency of SiC translates into energy savings yielding financial and environmental benefits.


  • The Fayetteville Public Library is providing assistance with installation, partnership coordination, books and DVDs on the subject matter, educational events, promotional materials and support for the website and kiosk. The City of Fayetteville is providing partnership coordination and support to further the project.


  • The partners for this project are Fayetteville Public Library, City of Fayetteville’s Office of Sustainability, the University of Arkansas Department of Electrical Engineering’s National Center for Reliable Electrical Power Transmission, Arkansas Energy Office, Fayetteville Economic Development Council and AEP / Southwestern Electric Power Company.

 For more information, visit www.icma.org

ICMA Grant Announcment

Contact:  Sarah Terry, Communications Manager

Louise Schaper, Executive Director

Grant Funds Solar Project at Library

FAYETTEVILLE – The Fayetteville Public Library will announce plans to further its commitment to sustainability during a news conference on Tuesday, March 17 at 3 p.m. on the library’s south terrace.

The library was recently awarded a $60,000 grant from the International City/Council Management Association to develop a test facility at the library for solar technology researched and developed in Northwest Arkansas. Partners on the project include City of Fayetteville, Arkansas Energy Office, American Electric Power, the National Center for Reliable Electric Power Transmission, University of Arkansas and Arkansas Power Electronics International.

The panels will provide power to the library through an inverter that was developed at Arkansas Power Electronics International. A kiosk will be set up at the library to demonstrate the power the solar panels are generating for the library and how the power is being used.

“Since completing Blair Library, a LEED Silver certified building, the library has continually worked to further its commitment to sustainability,” said Louise Schaper, FPL Executive Director. “Through this grant, the library will save energy, provide a platform for local innovators to test their technologies, and provide a real world learning opportunity for the community.”

The grant will allow several groups in Northwest Arkansas’ emerging “green valley” to partner. In addition to the library and the city, the project will also involve students from the University of Arkansas’ Electrical Engineering Senior Design program, who will design and install the panel housing and kiosk website.

The project will also provide a real world application of renewable energy research and development occurring at the Arkansas Research and Technology Park.

The library was one of 9 libraries awarded an ICMA Public Library Innovation Grant out of the 515 libraries that applied. The grants are designed to assist local governments’ in developing new and creative ways to strategically use their public libraries in meeting community needs.

Kiosk hardware research update


Xantrex Communications Gateway

As the project narrative states, The initial implementation of the solar project will utilize a Xantrex GT30 inverter to convert the energy produced by the array into AC current. This model of Xantrex inverter is designed to interface directly with Xantrex’s communications gateway that provides realtime energy production data from the array.

The Xantrex Gateway logs performance data directly from the Xantrex GT or XW System, and transmits it to the included Yahoo Widget based monitoring software for a simple and graphically rich view of system performance. More than a data logger, the Gateway offers a web page with the ability to configure automated email reports.

The Gateway includes both built-in Wi-Fi and Ethernet connectivity allowing for flexible and simple set up for wireless or wired connection to a router or direct to a PC.

The Gateway will provide the initial data feed for the educational kiosk and web page. I am still researching methods to acquire similar data for the kiosk once the SiC inverter developed by Arkansas Power Electronics International is installed.