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ETSU to host ribbon-cutting for Sherrod Library solar panel
Solar array on the roof of ETSU's Sherrod Library

JOHNSON CITY – A Solar Panel Ribbon Cutting will be held Tuesday, April 2, at 1 p.m. on the first floor of East Tennessee State University’s Sherrod Library.

A 62.6 kW (kilowatt) array consisting of 187 335-watt PV (photovoltaic) panels that capture energy from the sun and convert it into electricity has been installed on the roof of the Sherrod Library.  It is an Ecolibrium Solar Ballasted Racking System with a five-degree tilt and three Sunny Tripower inverters.  It includes a rapid shutdown system for safety.

The solar panel array is anticipated to produce 78,000 kWh annually, which, according to the EPA’s Greenhouse Gas Equivalencies Calculator at epa.gov, would offset the equivalent energy consumption of more than six homes, 6,207 gallons of gasoline consumed, 60,300 pounds of coal burned, or 128 barrels of oil used.  It equals the greenhouse gas emissions from 11.7 passenger vehicles driven for one year or 134,860 miles driven by an average passenger vehicle.

It was installed during the fall 2018 semester by Green Earth Solar of Knoxville.

The project was first proposed during 2013-14 as one of several projects to be funded by the $7-per-semester Campus Sustainability Fee paid by ETSU students.  A committee of 10 with a student majority considers proposals by ETSU students, faculty and staff and determines funding amounts for approved projects.  Funds from the fee were set aside each year to go toward the solar panel project until enough was available to complete it. 

The solar array project cost approximately $150,000, which includes designer and contractor fees and miscellaneous expenses, such as a new monitor in the Sherrod Library that reports the amount of energy produced daily, as well as a running account since project installation.

According to ETSU Director of Sustainability Kathleen Moore, the solar panel array was originally intended to be installed atop Wilson-Wallis Hall, which houses ETSU’s Department of Engineering, Engineering Technology and Surveying.  However, because Wilson-Wallis is due for a new roof soon, the university chose the Sherrod Library as the location since it had a new roof that was completed in 2017.

The ribbon-cutting event is hosted by the ETSU Department of Sustainability and Sherrod Library.  Refreshments will be provided.

For more information, contact the Department of Sustainability at 423-439-7766 or .  For disability accommodations, call the ETSU Office of Disability Services at 423-439-8346.
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