Library looks to solar-powered energy savings

Visitors to Wilton Library in the coming weeks may see activity on the roof. Workers will be installing a photovoltaic system that will generate electricity for the building’s lighting, heating and air conditioning, and computers.  

The project has been in the works for a while, according to  Rich Hubli, building operations manager, and after considering proposals from five installer/investors who responded to a request for proposals, the job was awarded to Northeast Smart Energy and Soldel LLC.  Northeast Smart Energy, with offices in Hartford and Ridgefield, has worked with nonprofits the size of the library and has extensive experience constructing this type of installation, according to a press release from the library. Financing for the project is through a Power Purchasing Agreement with Soldel LLC, a private firm in Norwalk. Research on system was independent of the school system’s recent solar projects.  

Architect Rob Sanders, vice president of Wilton Library Association’s Board of Trustees, said the library’s large flat roof makes it ideal for installing a solar array.

“Thanks to the state’s C-Pace program, the library does not incur up-front expenses for this project,” he said. “The investor (Soldel) purchases and installs the system, which generates electricity that is sold to the library at a discounted price. The system will generate energy savings for decades to come.”

Once online, the library will pay $0.059/kWh for electricity generated for the next 20 years, compared to a range of $0.16 to $0.18/kWh. The library expects to realize about $300,000 in savings on electricity over the term of the agreement, which is renewable for two additional five-year periods.

Solar energy will account for 25% of the electricity the library uses each year, Executive Director Elaine Tai-Lauria said.

The project has begun with the delivery of materials last week. The 408 solar panels will encompass approximately 11,000 square feet of total area. Installation will take place over the next three to four weeks, depending upon weather. There will be no disruption of library service or hours while the work takes place and the system should be fully operational by March 2018.

The library’s new array will conform to the state’s “green” guidelines and help Wilton meet its pledge to reduce town-wide energy consumption, providing an environmental benefit equal to 92 acres of CO2-absorbing forest annually.

In addition to saving energy, the solar array will provide an educational opportunity as well, Tai-Lauria said, “with a kiosk that explains what the library is doing, and providing statistics on the energy generated and the savings being realized. After all, we are in the business of sharing information and bringing new ideas to the community.”

Information: Rich Hubli,, 203-762-6328.