WPLM Going Solar with EBSCO

July 1, 2024

 Williamsville Public Library and Museum (WPLM) has been awarded a $30,00 grant from EBSCO, an international information services company.  EBSCO announced a total of $300,000 to five libraries on Friday, June 28.  The grants will all be used to install solar arrays to help the libraries offset their electrical costs.  

WPLM will be following in the footsteps of the Village of Williamsville, which installed solar panels on their Community Center last year.  WindSolarUSA will be installing an array of 60 American-made panels along the East-West peak of WPLM metal roof in August.  WPLM expects to save taxpayers over $4,200 per year by offsetting about 70% of annual electric costs with the solar panels. 

The WPLM Board made the solar panels a priority this spring after realizing that some financial incentives will be changing soon. As Village President Tom Yokley explained, “If they waited it would take longer for the system to pay for itself, because Ameren’s net metering is changing.”

Illinois law currently requires Ameren to credit solar customers for the power they put back on the grid.  This system is known as net metering.   As of January 1, 2025, the amount Ameren pays through net metering will decrease.  The change will extend the payback period for solar panels, which is the amount of time it takes for a solar panel system to pay for itself. WPLM will be locking in the current net metering policy for 30 years by energizing their panels this fall.  

In addition to the EBSCO Solar Grant, WPLM is able to afford the panels because of government incentives that encourage sustainable energy.  The Inflation Reduction Act made it possible for non-profit organizations to receive a direct payment that reflects 30% of a system’s total cost. The Illinois Shine Program provides incentives known as Renewable Energy Credits (RECs) based on the energy a system is expected to generate. RECs are used to meet Illinois’ goals for clean energy.  The combined federal and state incentives are expected to cover over $44,000 of the system's $76,000 upfront price tag, and the EBSCO grant will pay $30,000.  The panels are expected to save taxpayers over $100,000 through their minimum 25-year life span. 

WPLM will be adding a web site link to show panel output and help educate others about the fiscal and environmental benefits of solar energy.  WPLM greatly appreciates the grants and incentives that will make it possible to divert money away from utility bills and towards long-term savings, as well as materials, services, and programming to benefit residents and visitors.

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