• On an appropriately sunny day, Facility employees Rick Hadge, center, and John DaSilva install solar panels on the roof of Hayden Library, while Paul Lyons of Zapotec Energy uncrates the next.

    Photo / Donna Coveney

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  • Facilities project manager Laxmi Rao, left, and Heather Denny of the MIT Libraries put down some of the hardware to attach solar panels to the roof of Hayden Library.

    Photo / Donna Coveney

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Solar power panels installed on Hayden Library roof

There's certainly a lot of brainpower generated under the roof of Hayden Library, and now there will be another kind of power generated on the roof as well.

Cranes hoisted 42 solar panels to the roof of the library on the morning of Sept. 15 to create a photovoltaic system that will harness sunlight for solar power. This is the third such solar power panel installation at MIT--others are on the roofs of the Student Center and Building N52--but the installation on Hayden Library is the largest.

The library's roof was selected by MIT's Department of Facilities for its ideal southern exposure, according to Laxmi Rao, a senior project manager with the department, who said she expects the panels to be operational by the end of the month.

The project is part of an ongoing initiative that Rao and others have been involved in to reduce MIT's "emissions footprint." In 2002, the MIT Community Solar Power Initiative was awarded a $455,700 grant from the Massachusetts Renewable Energy Trust for solar installations on campus and on MIT community members' homes in several cities and towns, including Cambridge.

"The Libraries are thrilled to be a part of this project," said Ann Wolpert, director of Libraries. "It's a great opportunity for us to incorporate environmentally friendly technology and be a good neighbor to the Cambridge community."

The 13-kilowatt system on the library's roof is expected to generate around 15,000 kilowatt hours a year--roughly equivalent to the energy needed to power two homes for a year. The production of the electricity will result in zero greenhouse gas emissions and will supplement power provided by MIT's co-generation plant on Vassar Street. The other two solar power panel installations on campus generate a combined total of 11,500 kilowatt hours.

To learn more about the MIT Community Solar Power Initiative and view photos of solar power panel installations go to http://solarpower.mit.edu.

A version of this article appeared in MIT Tech Talk on September 22, 2004 (download PDF).

Topics: Cambridge, Boston and region, Environment and energy


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