See the Town’s Solar Panels in Action

Learn how you can save on energy

By Larry Chase

 

Want to watch the new solar array on the Town Offices building roof in action?  Then take a look at the new graphical display on the waiting room wall of the Town Offices building. And take home a pamphlet offering step-by-step recommendations for similarly improving the energy efficiency of your own home.
The display includes a screen, supplied by solar array installer ReVision Energy, that shows how the solar panels are performing on a second-to-second basis, as well as their performance over the previous six days, the current month, and the lifetime of the system.  Plus, it calculates two measures of the system's environmental benefit: the carbon dioxide emissions avoided by not using fossil fuels, and the equivalent carbon dioxide absorption, or sequestration, created by planting trees.
Accompanying the screen is a poster board which provides information about the process by which the system converts solar energy into alternating electrical current and how the installation was financed.   It also gives two additional environmental measures of the array's advantage:  every year the system avoids the environmental impact of burning 11,402 pounds of coal, or the driving of 25,543 miles in a sedan.
As noted in previous Beacon articles, the solar installation was the final step in last year's effort, guided by the Andover Energy Group and approved at Town Meeting, to minimize the Town Offices' energy consumption and costs.  That overall effort provides the basis for a free, four-page handout accompanying the solar-panel display.  The handout offers more detail about the Town Offices’ energy improvements, and explains how homeowners can take similar steps to save significantly on their energy bills.   In addition to describing solar systems, it contains sections on how to “Conduct an energy audit,” “Weatherize: insulate and seal,” “Save electricity through appliance replacement and lighting upgrades” and “Upgrading heating and cooling.”
If you'd like an electronic copy of the handout, please send an email to Larry Chase at lbchase@nullaol.com.