This week solar panels are being installed on the planetarium roof. By the end of the week, those panels will be generating a portion of the energy used at the nature center.
Thanks to generous donations, we are installing 34 panels instead of only 4. Thanks to a small group of concerned Los Alamos citizens, we now expect the nature center to be LEED Gold certified, and to be a model of how Los Alamos County buildings can help to make to a greener planet.
The story behind our solar panels:
Sometimes quick action is needed when an opportunity arrives out of the blue. On December 1st, PEEC was notified that installers would be arriving in just two days to put four solar panels on the roof of the nature center—the number of panels needed to ensure that the building would meet the LEED Silver designation that was part of the contract for its construction. PEEC knew that many board members and dedicated citizens were interested in helping put solar on the roof of the nature center, and this seemed like the perfect time to rally people to pitch, in since the cost of the installation would be covered by the builders.
A few PEECers got on the phone and started calling people they knew cared deeply about solar power, and in just 24 hours they had commitments from 19 families to buy 30 more panels! We were overwhelmed by the generosity and quick action from these people, as was the building contractor, Klinger. Klinger decided to redesign the array to make better use of the additional funds. This took a while, as did permits and permissions. Our donors were patient, however, and their patience was rewarded on Monday when the installers arrived and got to work. Soon we hope to have a display in the building showing exactly how much energy is being saved.