News From Terre Haute, Indiana

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March 16, 2010

Library officials mull use of solar panels

TERRE HAUTE — Vigo County Public Library officials are considering using the sun to reduce library electric bills.

Library board members, during their monthly business meeting Monday evening, heard a proposal for putting a new roof on the main library downtown. They also heard from a representative of One Planet Solar & Wind, a Terre Haute-based clean energy company, about installing solar panels on the library’s roof.

“We’re looking at thousands [of dollars] in savings” by using solar energy, said Phillip Roberts, an official with the Terre Haute company.

The cost of installing solar panels on the roof of the library would be approximately $450,000. However, the panels would have a 50-year lifespan and require only annual cleaning, Roberts told the library board members.

“It will save thousands” in electric bills, Roberts said.

At next month’s library board meeting, which is scheduled for 7 p.m. April 19 at the library, Roberts said he will have more information, including 3-D images, for the board.

Library board members also discussed a new roof for the library building downtown. The estimated cost for a new roof would be about $400,000, said Steve Arnold, an architect with MMS-A/E, a full-service architecture firm based in Terre Haute. Arnold proposed that the board members consider a  special roofing material with a 50-year lifespan. 

Also at Monday night’s board meeting, library board members approved appropriating $55,000 from the library’s “rainy day fund” for a new sign for the library on Poplar Street. Board members have not yet agreed to the type of sign, so it is possible that not all of the $55,000 would be used, said library director Nancy Dowell during the meeting.

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