The Boys & Girls Club of Albany has installed solar panels on the roof of the Bill and Di O’Bryan Building, and the $200,000 project should reduce the structure’s power bill by up to 90%, according to representatives of the organization.
The panels were put atop the 40,000-square-foot building, which houses a teen center and indoor soccer field, in late May and early June.
“They’ll last 35 to 40 years,” said Peter Greenberg, president of Energy Wise, which installed the panels.
Funding for the project came largely through a Pacific Power Blue Sky grant, which provided $134,000. The Energy Trust of Oregon chipped in another $22,000.
Maya Perez, director of operations for the Boys & Girls Club of Albany, said the panels on the O’Bryan building should save the youth organization roughly $15,000 a year. The club’s investment in the project should pay for itself in about three years in energy savings.
Greenberg said he’s applied for another state grant for the program, as well.
The club board of directors is excited about saving money and investing in the future with renewable energy, Perez said. She added that the club is trying to reduce its footprint by using LED lights and taking other measures.
This summer, the club also will be holding a poster contest regarding environmental issues.
“It’s important that we teach the children that they need to help out, do their part,” Perez said.
The Boys & Girls Club is certainly doing its part.
Greenberg said that the Boys & Girls Club of Albany now has the largest solar array on any rooftop in the city.
In 2012, Greenberg helped add solar panels to the main building of the Boys & Girls Club of Albany, which produces about 130,000 kilowatt hours per year.
The Teen Center array will be able to produce about 180,000 kilowatt hours per year, Greenberg said.
The systems each have about 450 modules, but the technology improves every year, so the capacity is much greater with the modern equipment.
Unlike the main building, where the solar panels are owned by Greenberg, the club will own the array on top of the Teen Center.
Between the club’s two buildings, there’s a combined 75 percent energy reduction thanks to the solar panels, Greenberg said.
Greenberg, a former Albany Fire Department firefighter and paramedic, said his company has solar panels on 14 Albany schools.
With most of the projects, including the main building of the Boys & Girls Club of Albany, Greenberg rents the roofs of the facilities, and excess electricity is sold to Pacific Power.
This summer, Greenberg will volunteer in Haiti to put solar panels, lights, fans and more on a school without electricity. Donations for the project can be made at twendaysolar.org.
Pacific Power’s Blue Sky program allows customers to volunteer to pay a bit extra on their bills to support renewable energy.
Over the years, the Blue Sky program has contributed more than $1 million in grants for renewable energy projects in Linn and Benton counties, said Celeste Krueger, regional business manager for Pacific Power.
The Energy Trust of Oregon gathers funding through a small fee on electricity bills, and helps business and residents complete energy efficiency projects.
The O’Bryan Building was completed in 2013. About 750 children come through the structure each day.