News Releases

Solar Energy Generates $140,000 Rebate For Smoky Valley Library District

Jul 4, 2005

Contact: Karl Walquist, (775) 834-3891

 Sierra Pacific Power is paying a $140,000 rebate to the Smoky Valley Library District for investing in a photovoltaic solar power system that will generate up to 28,000 watts of electricity for the Round Mountain Public Library in Nye County. (Round Mountain is located about 56 miles north of Tonopah.)

It's the largest individual rebate ever paid through Sierra Pacific's SolarGenerations program, which encourages Nevada utility customers to use solar energy at their homes and businesses. Residential and small business customers, as well as schools and government buildings that install photovoltaic systems can earn rebates. The rebate going to the library amounts to $5 per watt of electricity produced.

Sierra Pacific representatives, including company President Jeff Ceccarelli, will present the rebate check at the library, 73 Hadley Circle in Round Mountain, on Wednesday, July 13, at 1:30 p.m.

The library's new solar installation covers approximately 2,300 square feet on the south facing roof of the building and includes a separate array of photovoltaic panels that were installed at ground level. The project was designed by The Energy Architect, a firm located in Elko, and installed by Mount GrantElectric of Hawthorne.

Similar to the tiny silicon-based solar cells in pocket calculators, photovoltaic panels convert sunlight directly into electricity.

According to Library Director Jeanne Bleecker, the two solar arrays are expected to provide up to 50 percent of the library's power supply, and they could cut the library's monthly power bill in half.

Along with its 40,000 books, the facility has two public meeting rooms, video conferencing facilities, and two computer labs where patrons can access the Internet.   The Smoky Valley Library District also operates a small public library in Manhattan, a small community south of Round Mountain.

“Where we live, it's usually sunny and always windy. We looked into solar energy because it just seems natural,” Bleecker said, adding the library district had the financial ability to tackle the project because it gets additional funding from tax dollars collected from Round Mountain Gold Corporation, a joint venture between the Kinross Gold Corporation and Barrick Gold. The Round Mountain gold mine is the community's largest employer.

Approximately 48 SolarGenerations projects at homes, businesses, schools and public buildings, capable of producing about 242 kilowatts of electricity, have been completed or are currently under construction for the first phase of the program, and $1,186,440 in rebates has been paid to participants. Another 137 projects, capable of producing up to 1,900 kilowatts of electricity have been approved for the second year of the program, and could result in rebates of $5.7 to $7.6 million.

The SolarGenerations program was created by Assembly Bill 431â€"the Solar Energy Systems Demonstration Programâ€"passed by the 2003 session of the Nevada State Legislature. Applications for the program are reviewed Nevada Renewable Energy and Energy Conservation Task Force and must be approved by the Public Utilities Commission of Nevada before participants can earn rebates.

“The demonstration program lets people see how photovoltaics work,” said Bob Balzar, director of energy efficiency and customer strategy for Sierra Pacific and its sister company, Nevada Power Company, in southern Nevada. “It helps offset energy costs for participants and allows us to achievegreater use of the state's abundant sunshine while reducing our state's reliance on fossil fuels.”

For more information about photovoltaic power and Sierra Pacific's rebate program, call 866-PV-NEVADA or