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Solar Panel Array Will Be Removed from Library Roof in Wisconsin Rapids

Source: Carl Hilke

Solar Panel Array Will Be Removed from Library Roof in Wisconsin Rapids

After months of speculation and closed door meetings, McMillan Library Board of Trustees confirms the solar panel array will be removed.

May 15, 2024 4:38 PM CDT

By: Melissa Kaye

Wisconsin Rapids, Wis. (WFHR, WIRI) – The question of whether or not the solar panel array will come off the roof of McMillan Library has been answered. The McMillan Library Board of Trustees mailed a letter to library supporters. It informed recipients the Board of Trustees has decided to not pursue a final buyout option for the current solar panel array. They state in the letter that the current solar array system will be removed this spring.

Who donated funds?

On the library website, they have a full list of solar project donors. The project cost of $420,000 has mostly already been paid for. Viking Electric and its owner, Scott Prahl, covered most of the cost of the installation up front of $155,000. The Library Endowment Fund made a down payment of $125,000 on the eventual purchase. There was a generous donation specifically for the solar panel array in the amount of $80,000. The library aimed to raise $60,000 to finalize the purchase. The archived webpage stated they were over 20% of the way to that goal and about 90% to the overall cost. The details of the solar panel array are outlined here. At the December 14, 2022, Building and Grounds meeting Library Director, Katherine Elchert, stated there is $150,000 in the operating budget for solar buyout.

What will happen to the donated funds now?

The Board of Trustees state in their letter that they remain committed to solar power energy and have begun discussing how best to obtain a new solar array. They’re looking for an array that takes advantage of the latest technological advances to effectively and efficiently provide solar energy to the library. They say they are mindful stewards of the investment made by the Wisconsin Rapids community. They’ve decided a new more effective solar panel array is the right decision.

Letter regarding the solar panel array

The letter from the McMillan Library Board of Trustees is posted on the library website here. The library will be closed, along with the parking lot, on Thursday, May 23 for building maintenance. Their Wi-Fi will also be down. The library will reopen on Friday, May 24th for regular hours from 9am to 6pm.

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