Continuing the SMSC philosophy of becoming self-sustaining using environmentally friendly technology, this summer several new green initiatives are being implemented on SMSC lands.
On June 7, 2012, a solar and wind powered street lamp was installed at the entrance to the Organics Recycling Facility on County Road 83. This decorative hybrid streetlight assembly, called a Vertical Axis Wind Turbine (VAWT), includes a small wind turbine whose main rotor shaft is set vertically rather than horizontally (as is the SMSC Wind Turbine).
Located atop a 16 foot tall pole, the new unit has a 300 watt wind turbine and a 125 watt solar panel with a long-life 24 watt LED streetlamp. There are also two 1-watt spotlights which light up the turbine at night. The turbine and solar module charge the batteries to run the LED on the pole for use at night. There is a five day reserve in the battery bank. This light pole assembly is self sustaining and requires no electric hook-up.
Among the advantages of the VAWT is that generators and gearboxes can be placed close to the ground, which makes these components easier to service and repair. Produced by Minnesota Wind Technology, the new unit illuminates the entrance and sign to the ORF at night as well as reduces costs for the SMSC by utilizing the renewable energy of the sun and wind to power the street lamp. It saves the SMSC about 50 cents a day which a standard streetlamp would use in electricity.
The SMSC Public Works Building now has 18 225-watt solar panels installed atop its roof over the Furnishings Shop. Visible from County Road 42, the 40 by 60 inch solar panels weigh about 40 pounds each. The solar panels are expected to generate about 7,100 kilowatt hours per year, enough to operate 47 three lamp 2 by 4 foot light fixtures found standard in many offices.
The panels were operational in July 2012. The roof did not require any particular strengthening to support the weight of the panels but bracing of the solar panels was required to counteract expected wind loads at that elevation.
The collection panels are wired to an inverter that converts DC power to AC which is connected to the electrical service panel in the mechanical room. By using solar panels, the Community’s carbon footprint will be further reduced. Shakopee Public Utilities is also giving the SMSC rebates for installing these panels.
“The high visibility of these projects demonstrates our commitment to green initiatives. By generating our own energy, we are moving closer to self-sufficiency,” said SMSC Chairman Stanley R. Crooks.
Solar panel installations will go up on the south side of Dakotah Meadows Mini Storage and at the Organics Recycling Facility this summer as well. Eighteen 240 watt solar panels installed on the ground at the Mini Storage will produce approximately 8000 kwh annually which will tie into an inverter in the electrical room. The inverter will convert the DC power to AC and supplement power for the Mini Storage. A project at the ORF will have 144 40 by 66 inch solar collection panels covering the entire south side of the roof. These solar panels will provide energy for the facility with excess slated to eventually be sold on the grid. With these new projects, the SMSC will have a total of 204 solar panels in operation.