In 2008, I began researching solar panels for the library. We have a large flat roof that does no more than collect leaves. We planned to put up 20k of panels. My first step was to call in an architect to evaluate the condition of the roof. We can’t consider putting a solar panel system on a failing roof. When he put his foot through the roof, we knew what we were looking at – full roof replacement. We sought SED approval of the projects – difficult and time costly, but ultimately approved.
We put 2 bids to the public – roof replacement and solar installation. Although a number of contractors bid on both, the contract awards went to different companies.
As this construction project was done on my “home,” I was on the roof a minimum of 4 times per day. I did not Photoshop myself into the pictures. I have replaced Anderson windows, a kitchen and a bathroom at home, so I may have more construction experience than most librarians.
The building was first safeguarded from falling debris; the old roof was stripped off, followed by the new installation. Four crickets were installed with four drainage pipes. We did not drill holes in the new roof to support panels, we used concrete ballast to hold everything down. Note – we placed them right over structural beams. While there is much additional room on the roof, we are unable to install more panels due to weight. It is possible that in the future, panels will be much lighter and we can consider more. From our website (www.NorthBabylonPL.org) you can see just how much electricity we are generating.
We applied for a portion of the 14 million dollar library construction aid grant program as well as bullet grants from our Assemblymen and Senator. We also received a significant rebate from LIPA for the solar installation.
How much did we save? This is a difficult question, as it will take some time to compare previous years expenses, combined with huge increases from the utilities. We have definitely offset the increases. Since we received a great deal of grant funding in addition to rebates, we are in the “black” from day one. Public relations is priceless.
Marc David Horowitz
North Babylon Public Library
815 Deer Park Avenue
North Babylon, New York 11703
631 669 4020