Library out to shed light on solar energy utilizations

The Leetonia Community Public Library is looking to pool with other local entities to bring solar energy to the area.

The library, 181 Walnut St., will host Tipping Point Renewable Energy at 6:30 p.m. Feb. 26 for a presentation regarding solar energy panels to help reduce electricity costs. Tipping Point serves as a project developer that seeks third-party investors for solar power systems. Clients exclusively include school districts, municipalities and businesses such as the Licking Valley School District and the City of Columbus.

Library Director Lisa Rohrbaugh said she hopes the presentation can benefit entities across the area including Columbiana County and southern Mahoning County.

“The automatic reaction is that there is not enough sun in this area, but over the course of a year there is enough to make it worthwhile,” she said. “Hopefully groups can get together through this event.”

According to Tom Butch, a sales associate with Tipping Point, each solar panel system is hooked into the electricity grid so that whenever energy is not being drawn from the sun, it is drawn from the grid. Any energy drawn from the sun is then credited on the electric meter.

Butch explained that when entities join a consortium, each has its own system but the consortium is proposed to investors as one project.

“In a place like Leetonia, the village and library by themselves are not large enough, but are more attractive to investors if they join with the school,” he said.

Considering how much the library spends on electricity, Rohrbaugh said she is anxious to take advantage of the opportunity.

“In 2012 [the library] spent almost $15,000 for electricity,” she said. “That way exceeds even the combination of the other utility bills. If we can reduce the bill any, it could go a long way toward our operation.”

The meeting is for general information such as available options and associated costs of a solar panel system and consortiums. It is open to any representatives interested in the idea. Interested groups are asked to register by calling 330-427-6635.