T.B. Scott Free Library

Community Solar: The T.B. Scott Free Library

The T.B. Free Scott Library serves the Merrill area through traditional and innovative services, connecting people to their community and the world. It promotes reading, supports lifelong learning, ensures free and open access to ideas, and provides opportunities for recreation.

The Library has employed both high and low tech ways to save energy for many years, so going solar is just another step in becoming more environmentally friendly and making taxpayer dollars stretch further.

The Challenge

The Staff and Board of the library were interested in solar installation to reduce energy costs.  They also saw an opportunity to provide an educational experience for the community to learn about how solar power works and the benefits that it provides.

The library contacted North Wind Renewable Energy Cooperative of Stevens Point to help design an approach that would be most affordable for this non-profit community institution.

Solar Solution

North Wind Renewable Energy Cooperative is an institutional member of the Legacy Solar Co-op, so the two co-ops worked together to investigate how to provide the T.B. Scott Library the best solar project possible!

What resulted from this investigation was a plan to have some of the cost come from supporters of the library and some to come from the library itself.

Groundbreaking will start in May and when completed will consist of 28.63 kW made up of 83 SolarWorld 345w modules and SolarEdge Inverters with DC power optimizers on each module.

Where the solar will be installed

This 28.63 kW of solar will provide over 34,000 kilowatt-hours of electricity in the first year, and over 829,000 kWhs over a 25-year horizon.  When accounting for replacing the inverters once in that time, we can expect the solar panels to continue to produce clean energy into a 4th decade.

This is the Legacy that our Co-op is based on.  A group of community-minded people come together to fund a Legacy Solar project that will pay for itself many times over financially, and reduce environmental pollutants and conserve water for decades to come.

Funding

Together with a tax sponsor, the project succeeded in being fully capitalized by the end of February, 2017.  The Legacy Solar Co-op sold $18,000 worth of Slice-of-Sun solar bond subscriptions to round off the library’s own investment in this project.

This project is fully funded.  Please inquire about other projects being funded for Legacy Solar Projects throughout Wisconsin.

Progress

This installation began in May 2017 and officially flipped the solar switch to “on” on June 6, 2017.

Gallery

Click on an image to open the gallery.

 

The Legacy

The more SOS Subscriptions are owned by the T.B. Scott Free Library, the more their energy bills will be locked in at below 5 cents per kilowatt-hour!  That’s less than half what they are paying now for their electricity in 2017.

Plus, over 25 years, the impact of this project will be to displace nearly 1 million pounds of CO2 and save over 14 million gallons of water by reducing their need for coal and methane-based electricity!

Although this project is now fully funded, you can still participate in this innovative fundraising approach and help grow community solar in Wisconsin. Solar bonds that you purchase from Legacy Solar Co-op help to maximize the savings for other solar projects.

After 6 years, you can even donate your bonds so your legacy panels will continue to produce power and help your community for the next 25-40+ years.

Slice-of-Sun Solar Bonds

Legacy Solar Co-op sells Slice-of-Sun Solar Bonds to any member who would like to support a Solar Legacy project and earn between 3% and 5% interest on their bonds purchased through the co-op.

These bond subscriptions help secure the solar project and can either be cashed in after 7 years, rolled-over into a Legacy term (25-years), or can be donated at any time as a tax-deductible donation to a participating non-profit host site for a solar project. For example, a local church is currently enjoying a portion of the energy savings (over $3,000 a year), but the more bonds the Church owns, the more energy savings they get to keep for their own parish’s budget. Everybody saves and earns and benefits from the good that is being done thanks to the solar project.

You can buy Slice-of-Sun Solar Bonds that earn interest for as little as $250. Or you can sponsor as many full solar panels as you’d like for $500 each. Sponsorship can be direct donations to a participating non-profit or through the purchase of bonds that are then gifted to the non-profit of your choosing.

The two rules for purchasing a solar bond

You must be:

  1. A member of the Legacy Solar Cooperative, and
  2. A Wisconsin resident.

These are required to comply with State and Federal Statutes governing this type of business transaction.  Becoming an equity member of the Legacy Solar Co-op means you are an owner of the Co-op, and qualify to buy bonds issued by the Co-op to serve the Co-op’s business interests. These interests lie in developing more and more solar projects to serve our members and share in the energy and environmental savings that come with solar and energy efficiency.

Ready to get started?


You will find more information and instructions.  If you have any questions at all, please contact us.