Arkansas library system breaks ground on nearly 1-MW solar project

On September 17, the Central Arkansas Library System (CALS) broke ground on a new nearly 1 MW solar panel. The renewable energy will deliver savings and help the library system achieve its goals of operating sustainably and promoting green practices across the state. As stated in its sustainability statement, CALS is committed to integrating energy-efficient practices, raising public awareness, and evaluating and reporting their impact on the environment.

In line with the first objective, in 2017, CALS partnered with the Arkansas Energy Office to implement an energy savings performance contract, where a state-recognized company implements energy-efficient upgrades at no cost. CALS chose Little Rock Entegrity to audit their facilities and implement the custom work: LED lighting, water conservation measures, new HVAC equipment and utility corrections. The project, which was completed under budget, delivered enough energy savings to pay for the original project and to use the remaining capital to fund a 66 kW solar panel at the Hillary Rodham Clinton Children’s Library & Learning Center. After two years of measuring and verifying, the savings created for this first project exceeded the projected savings amount by more than $30,000.

CALS and Entegrity have now partnered for phase two: the design and construction of a new, larger range that will further offset energy consumption and deliver utility savings. The 998 kW array with 3,024 modules will track the sun all day to produce maximum energy, resulting in annual savings of $36,000. Taking into account this new range and the energy efficiency savings of Phase One, CALS will save a total of $5.8 million over the life of the project.

“The decision to continue our project with Entegrity and produce more solar power for CALS was an easy one. While the on-site array is perfect for increasing our customers’ access to a working solar installation, this new array will offset the energy consumption of several CALS buildings and provide serious savings for us to take on new initiatives,” says Lance Ivy, CALS director of facilities. and operations.

To further promote the eco-friendly culture of the library system, the Green Team, a group of CALS employees, is pursuing green strategies. New programs include a system-wide recycling program and this year’s month-long Earth Day celebration, complete with upcycled crafting, grab-n-go bags to grow native wildflowers, virtual programming on energy efficiency, and more.

News item from Entegrity

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