DOBBS FERRY, N.Y. – The end of summer doesn’t mean the end of solar energy for the Dobbs Ferry Public Library. The changing seasons offer different benefits for producing electricity from the solar panels on the library’s roof, and it looks like this renewable energy source will continue to reduce the library’s carbon footprint as leaves and snow fall.
“It evens out in the end,” said librarian Edward Canora. “The leaves come off the trees, letting in more sunlight.
The amount of energy produced from the panels not only varies from season to season, but day to day, as well. On a bright, sunny day, the solar system generates up to 19 kilowatts per hour, and averages 11 kilowatts per hour, which provides eight percent of the library’s energy needs, Canora said.
The panels are made of photovoltaic cells that capture the sun's energy and convert it to electricity, even on cloudy days, according to information provided at the library.
The panels were installed in February and funded by a grant from the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009.
To help library patrons understand the benefits of solar energy, the facility installed an information screen near the reference desk. The screen displays the amount of carbon gas reduced, number of miles that could be driven with the saved carbon, money saved, percentage of energy created, and the amount of energy produced over a 24-hour period.
Since February, the library has saved $4,000 in energy costs and reduced its carbon footprint by the amount of emissions released from driving a car 10,000 miles, Canora said.
The information screen is paying off and has caught the attention of many patrons – both children and adults – who ask questions about the system and are eager to learn more about renewable energy sources, Canora said.
The library’s heating and cooling system was also renovated recently, to further increase energy savings and reduce the building’s carbon footprint, Canora said.
The facility's successful solar program doesn’t have to stop at the library, Canora said, and the success could inspire other people to consider renewable energy sources for their home or business.
“The village is trying to take the lead, so other members of the town or village can do the same thing once they see it’s do-able and saves money,” Canora said.