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Solar panels at Sharpsburg Community Library could mean savings for borough

| Monday, May 14, 2018, 11:15 a.m.
As part of the Allegheny County Camp Cadet program, 60 students with a police escort rode bicycles past the Sharpsburg Community Library on Main Street from their starting point at Camp Guyasuta in O'Hara to the Law Enforcement Memorial on the North Shore on Wednesday, Aug. 5, 2015.
Jan Pakler | For Trib Total Media
As part of the Allegheny County Camp Cadet program, 60 students with a police escort rode bicycles past the Sharpsburg Community Library on Main Street from their starting point at Camp Guyasuta in O'Hara to the Law Enforcement Memorial on the North Shore on Wednesday, Aug. 5, 2015.

Sharpsburg Council wants to save money and energy by installing solar panels on Sharpsburg Community Library along Main Street.

A grant from the Hillman Foundation will cover the cost. Council approved the panels April 26. The Cooper-Siegel Library Board, which oversees the branch, must sign off as well.

“The solar panel funding is part of a larger Hillman Foundation grant for community work in Sharpsburg and covers $70,825 for materials, installation and community education around solar energy,” council President Brittany Reno said.

Reno, who suggested the library should receive the solar panels, said the installation would translate into savings for Sharpsburg.

“Over the past year, $7,000 of taxpayer money was spent (on utilities) and that number will continue going up,” Reno said.

But for borough officials, the benefits exceed cost savings.

“This will help the library become more sustainable and resilient, teach residents about how solar energy can be used to help our community and improve air quality by reducing the library's reliance on electricity produced by burning fossil fuels,” Reno said.

Sharpsburg is taking pointers from neighboring Millvale, which went through the process of covering its library to solar power in 2013.

Brian Wolovich, a Millvale council member and Millvale Community Library board member, said solar energy has worked well for them. In 2015, the library found that the panels were generating 78 percent of its energy. They made adjustments — including using LEDs — and as of 2018, the solar panels generate all of the library's energy.

Christine Manganas is a freelance writer.

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