Austin's New Central Library Goes Solar

Austin's New Central Library goes solar

As Austin’s new Central Library enters its completion stage, Austin Energy Solar Inspectors David Burgos and Rorey Voigt inspected the solar arrays at the downtown library. As with any solar project within Austin Energy’s area, inspections are needed to ensure that the solar installation is compliant with the National Electric Code and the utility’s interconnection guidelines.

Austin Enery solar inspectors on the new Central Library roof.  Two workers behind solar panels with trees in background

Left to right: Austin Energy inspectors David Burgos and Rorey Voigt

Dubbed the “library of the future,” the library features modern technology that is green and cost-effective. For example, electronic shades for the main central windows will automatically raise and lower depending on the brightness and heat, rainwater collected on-site will fill toilets and irrigate the surrounding landscaping, and solar panels located on top of the main building and over the rooftop garden will power about a third of the building. The solar system is comprised of three arrays with a total of 567 solar panels which total 182 kW-dc (about the same size as the Palmer Events Center array on Barton Springs Road). This is equivalent of 21 Austin residences’ annual kWh consumption.

The solar project was the first one designed to meet Austin Energy’s newest interconnection guidelines for the downtown network. System sizing and advanced controls ensure that the solar panels only serve the onsite loads, and will not backfeed onto the downtown network, providing protection from disruptions to the downtown grid and neighboring customers.
“As a solar inspector for Austin Energy, it has always been my desire to see more buildings incorporate solar in their designs,” said Burgos. “It helps to promote clean energy and allows more efficient use of our resources.”

Solar panels on roof of new Central Library

Worker on ladder working on solar panels  Solar panels with Austin high rise buildings in background.

Outdoor patio at the new Central Library with solar panels as roof.
Blog post and photos by: Austin Energy