Hobbs Library Lovell ME goes solar

Workers installing panels at Hobbs Library in Lovell, ME. Photo Courtesy José Azel

ReVision Energy was grateful for the opportunity to partner with JuiceBox Energy for the installation of an 8.1kw solar electric array paired with a next-generation 8.6kWh lithium-ion battery system at the historic Charlotte Hobbs Memorial Library in Lovell, Maine. The project was the first JuiceBox battery storage system installed in the Northeast and was made possible with a generous gift by an anonymous donor.

The system, in grid-tied mode, is expected to produce over 9,000 kilowatt-hours of electricity a year for 40+ years. During grid outages, the system will automatically switch over to the battery system to power critical loads.

We spoke with Anna Römer, Director of the Library, about the significance of the system and the Library’s efforts to lighten its carbon footprint.

RE: Could you tell us a bit about how the Library started on the road to solar?

AR: Our library always has had a strong commitment to reducing dependence on the environmental supply. Our 2014 Strategic Plan includes a segment on reducing our carbon footprint. Toward this end, the library updated all the lights to energy-efficient lights recently, insulated the basement and attic in the 1908 part of the building, and installed a heat pump five years ago. We were in the process of applying for a grant after we got an estimate from a local contractor to install solar panels. It was quite timely that around the same time we were approached by a generous donor who wanted to support a solar project.

Juicebox solar battery system

The Juicebox battery system is warrantied for 10 yrs / 4,000 cycles. It has 5.5kWh of storage, plenty to maintain the basics during a power outage.

RE: How did the install go?

AR: The installation went fantastic. Each member of the ReVision Energy team was professional, courteous and knowledgeable. Every question and concern we had was addressed immediately and all decisions were made with our needs in mind.

The system is completely unobtrusive. The panels on the roof are similar color as our roof shingles, so you barely see them. The indoor equipment all fit in our existing electrical closet.

RE: What excites you most now that it’s installed?

AR: Besides the fact that we will reduce our carbon footprint we will be able to decrease our energy costs by 30% annually. This money we can spend on our core mission of ‘bringing people, information and ideas together to inspire lifelong learning, advance knowledge and strengthen our community.’

We are also very excited about the fact that we can perform our basic services in case of a town wide power outage. Patrons can come check their emails, use our bathrooms, fill water bottles, refrigerate their medications and charge their phones in a heated (in winter) space.

RE: Will the system be part of educational efforts at the library?

AR: We are planning a series of summer programs around sustainability and green energy.  One of them will be with ReVision coming out and explaining the system. We also plan on providing working sessions for “hands on, do it yourself” projects for individual homeowners which can reduce dependency on non-renewable resources.

We will also create a ‘Solar’ page on our website where patrons can get info on our system and find links to resources both local and statewide.

Learn More

The system was featured in industry publication Solar Power World, see the article at: http://www.solarpowerworldonline.com/2016/02/juicebox-energy-and-revision-energy-install-solar-storage-at-historic-maine-library/

Real time system performance is viewable online at: https://monitoringpublic.solaredge.com/solaredge-web/p/site/public?name=Hobbs%20Library#/dashboard