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October 5, 2011

Alameda Free Library Solar Energy System and Energy Education Kiosk Unveiled

City of Alameda Mayor Marie Gilmore, accompanied by members of the City Council, Public Utilities Board, and Library Board, will unveil and dedicate a new roof-top solar energy system and an accompanying energy education kiosk at the Alameda Free Library, located at 1550 Oak Street, at 10:30 a.m. on Thursday, October 6, 2011.

“The initial design for the Main Branch of the Alameda Free Library included the substructure for a solar energy system, but the budget at that time just did not allow us to install the system when the library was built,” said Mayor Gilmore.  “Now, thanks to the Solar Rebate program at our city-owned Alameda Municipal Power (AMP), and the federal government emphasis within the Stimulus Bill to fund renewable energy generation projects, we’re able to complete the vision, reduce General Fund operational expenses and our carbon footprint.”

The 66-kilowatt solar photovoltaic system is operational and expected to generate over 90,000 kilowatt-hours of electricity every year, enough to power roughly 20 typical Alameda households, or up to one quarter of the Library’s annual energy use.

AMP provided the project with a Solar Rebate of $149,698; while an American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (Stimulus Bill) grant, administered by the Department of Energy, allotted $414,000 toward the project.   Under a competitive bid process, developed and managed by the City of Alameda Public Works Department, Sun Light & Power of Berkeley, CA was awarded the contract to design and construct the system.  Sun Light & Power CEO, Gary Gerber, will attend the dedication ceremony.  Gerber is also President of the California Solar Industry Association.

To allow residents an opportunity to monitor the solar system on a “real-time” basis, and to learn more about renewable power and energy efficiency, AMP used a grant from the American Public Power Association to purchase and develop content for a free-standing kiosk, located in the library lobby, which links to specific solar system performance data, and provides AMP-developed video and web-based information on energy efficiency and the many programs the utility has to help its customers save money and be greener.  

“One of the many benefits of public power is the recognition that arming our customers and residents with more information about how the utility works and how they can use those systems to enrich their lives is fundamentally good,” commented Public Utilities Board President Greg Hamm. “This kiosk is a prime example of that philosophy,” added Hamm, “and we hope that Alamedans, young and old, will use it to learn more about solar photovoltaic systems, and AMP programs to help them be energy efficient.  This is another example how the City and AMP are leveraging stimulus and grant funds to provide value to the community.”  

Michael Hartigan, Alameda Free Library Board Member and former member of the Library Building Team, expressed his appreciation for the solar system and kiosk.  He highlighted the high quality of the work by the contractor, Sun Light & Power, and construction management by the Public Works Department.  Hartigan said, “I am impressed with the project design and the dedication of the installation workers, both in terms of their professional approach and their willingness to work with Library staff to minimize impact on our users and operations schedule.  Public Works and Sun Light & Power worked around library and community needs to add this great new solar system onto what was already one of the greenest library buildings in the state.”

For more information, please contact Bill Garvine, Alameda Municipal Power, 510-748-3913.