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Library goes solar, 60% decrease in PG&E bill expected

Pictured during a recent visit to the Oakhurst Library are, from left, USDA State Rural Development Director Anita Lopez, USDA Community Programs Specialist Andrew Jacobs, Madera County Grants & Special Projects Manager Bill Hayter, Mike Clower, contractor with Bright House Energy of Porterville, and Regional Director of USDA Modesto Rural Development Jose Guardado.
Pictured during a recent visit to the Oakhurst Library are, from left, USDA State Rural Development Director Anita Lopez, USDA Community Programs Specialist Andrew Jacobs, Madera County Grants & Special Projects Manager Bill Hayter, Mike Clower, contractor with Bright House Energy of Porterville, and Regional Director of USDA Modesto Rural Development Jose Guardado. Submitted Photo

Thanks to the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the Friends of the Oakhurst Branch Library, the Oakhurst Library has gone solar and is expecting a 60% decrease in its Pacific Gas & Electric bill this summer and beyond.

The library solar project, at a cost of $55,000, had its beginnings almost three years ago and is now 100% complete and online.

The Friends of the Oakhurst Branch Library contributed $13,750, or 25% of the project, combined with a $41,250 grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

The system, installed by Bright House Energy of Porterville, is made with all American-made components and comes with a 25-year warranty.

Per Bright House Energy estimation, there will be a 60% decrease in the library energy bill this summer. This is double the original goal of a 30% decrease.

On March 27, new USDA State Rural Development Director Anita Lopez, and Community Programs Specialist Andrew Jacobs, both of Sacramento, visited the library to see the project. Jose Guardado, Regional Director of Modesto USDA RD office, Bill Hayter, Madera County Grants and Special Projects Manager, and Mike Clower of Bright House Energy guided the tour of the library, the library Community Room and the solar project.

In a Permission to Operate document from PG&E, Madera County and the Oakhurst Library were thanked for participation in PG&E’s Solar and Net Energy Metering (NEM) Program.

“Your new generating system at 49044 Civic Circle, was inspected and authorized for permission to operate on April 13, 2017. You may now interconnect to PG&E’s electric grid and experience the benefits of renewable power,” the document read.

The Library Community Room was completed in 2013 with USDA Rural Development funds matched by FOBL. The room was made possible with a $200,000 grant from USDA RD, and $125,880 from FOBL.

Candace Flammang, President of the FOBL Board of Directors, said the library has a good relationship with USDA Rural Development that helped make improvements to the Oakhurst Library when no other sources were available.

“It took three years to complete this solar project, but it will be worth the wait for our library to reduce energy costs for Madera County,” Flammang said. “Our library has been squeezed for resources and space since 2000. Our library’s circulation often matches that of the Madera Main Branch which has much more square footage and many more staff members. FOBL is pleased to improve our library and help the staff all we can.”

Book Sale this Saturday

An ongoing fundraiser for the library by FOBL are the monthly book sales (from community donations), held at the library offering a large selection of quality books at a fraction of their original cost.

The next special sale will be held 9 a.m. - 2 p.m. this Saturday (May 2) with a bag of books selling for just $3. Another sale will be held on June 3.

Another special sale - Collectible Book Sale - will be held 9 a.m. - 2 p.m. on Saturday, June 17. Additional collectible sales will be held Aug. 19, Oct. 21 and Dec. 2.

Tax deductible membership in the Friends of the Oakhurst Library is $5 (individuals), $15 (family), $40 (business), $50 (sustaining), $100 (sponsor) and $250 (lifetime). A membership application can be found on the FOBL website, www.oakhurstfobl.com.

Details: Oakhurst Library, (559) 683-4838.

FOBL

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