On July 31, 2012 the City of Alexandria and the Alexandria Library will begin installation of solar panels at the Beatley Central Library at 5005 Duke Street. Made possible by an American Recovery and Reinvestment Act Grant from the US Department of Energy, the solar panel project is the first on a City building and supports the vision of the City’s Eco-City Charter and Environmental Action Plan goals.
Converting sunlight to energy, the 42.3 Kilowatt system features 180 solar panels that spread across each of Beatley's five signature roof peaks. Due to its large, south-facing roof sections, the Beatley Central Library is an ideal building, as it easily collects sunlight. The solar panels will help offset a portion of its electricity consumption, reduce the City’s greenhouse gas emissions and reduce the building’s "peak demand" energy usage--the highest demand of energy consumption during a period. Standard Solar has been chosen as the contractor.
Additionally, the solar project offers educational opportunities to teach children and adults the benefits of renewable energy, sustainability and the Library's green initiatives. Library staff will highlight ecologically-themed books such as The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind, and an online public-accessible dashboard will indicate how much electricity the solar panels are generating.
The installation will be completed at the beginning of September 2012, as part of a commemorative celebration of the Library’s 75th Anniversary.