Saturday, August 3, 2013

Sun energy at the VA

Posted By on Sat, Aug 3, 2013 at 9:01 AM

Solar panels now cover the parking lot at the VA.
  • Solar panels now cover the parking lot at the VA.
Another solar energy project in Little Rock: By the end of August, the 7,000 solar panels being installed in the parking lot of the John L. McClellan Veterans Administration Hospital in Little Rock will be supplying enough sunny day energy to cut the hospital’s energy use by 30 to 40 percent, says Leonard O’Donovan of Inspiring Energy.

O’Donovan’s company has been installing the photovoltaic panels — which serve a dual purpose by creating hundreds of shaded parking spaces — since January. The $8 million system, paid for with federal stimulus funds, will generate enough wattage to power 1,800 homes, Donovan said; investment payback will come in eight years, O’Donovan said. The system should generate for 20 years, he said.

The Arkansas Economic Development Commission’s much smaller photovoltaic system — with 23 solar panels — was switched on in September 2012 after a three-year delay caused by legal questions over liability. While that system was expected to provide only 7 percent of the AEDC building’s needs, the point of installing it was to familiarize local business with the technology, energy office director Scott Hamilton said. O’Donovan said the VA system should also build public awareness about renewable technology.

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