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Phoenix continues looking toward more sustainable future

Solar Panels
Posted at 3:00 PM, Sep 22, 2022
and last updated 2022-09-22 21:18:24-04

We live in a world where energy is becoming more valuable and increasingly in demand.

Which is why cities across the Valley have installed solar panels in unique locations, to help take some weight off the grid.

The Burton Barr Central Library located at 1221 North Central Ave in Phoenix is one of them.

It is open seven days a week, serving the community in the fifth largest city in the country. So the building uses a lot of power.

Thankfully, they have shade coverings for cars in the parking lot, topped with solar panels.

These panels produce energy year-round.

“We’re a library, so we’re all about reuse…and a borrowing economy if you will, and sharing,” said Lee Franklin, with Phoenix Public Library.

Franklin says, because of this, it makes sense the Burton Barr Library would be a part of this sustainable effort.

“We have a lot of power needs here,” she added.

The five story building is open to the community every day of the week.

“We’re a complicated mini-city almost in itself as far as what it takes to keep this building open and available to people, and we serve as a cooling center during the summer,” Franklin told ABC15.

So any bit of energy produced by the solar panels goes a long way.

“Those 140,000 kilowatt hours that are generated by our solar panels, it would power about 15 homes a year,” she said.

The city installed the panels 11 years ago. They have a lifespan of 30 years.

“And the production really declines very little over those 30 years,” said Mark Hartman.

Hartman is the chief sustainability officer with the city of Phoenix.

He says this is just one of more than 50 locations around the city with solar.

“At the airport we have them on the car rental center as well as the Public East Economy parking lot. Then two major parking structures downtown that are used for employees and the public,” Hartman told ABC15.

That’s because Phoenix is moving in a more sustainable direction.

“The goal is by 2030 to have completely carbon neutral electricity for city operations, and that’s 65 million dollars worth of electricity,” he added.

Hartman says the challenge now will be designing panels to maximize recycling efforts.

“We need to think about how do we design for reconstruction and reuse,” said Hartman

Until then, solar panels like these will continue lighting the way to a more energy efficient future.

“It helps us literally keep the lights on and those are kilowatts hours that we are not taking from the grid. Which we know the rest of the community is really needing, especially during our high heat days,” Franklin told ABC15.