The longest day of the year provided some extra power for the Emmitsburg Glass Co.

The business has 1,054 solar panels on its roof, creating 253 kilowatts of power.

Dan Reaver, president of Emmitsburg Glass, said the building on Creamery Court off U.S. 15 is more than 100 percent energy self-sufficient. A surplus of power goes back onto the electrical grid. That means a drop in the electric bill.

On Friday, Bob Elwell, director of energy solutions for the system's builder, Energy Systems and Installations, took guests up 35 feet in a construction lift to view the roof.

"We had looked at it for several years," Reaver said of the solar array. "We had several bids, but finally in July 2012, ESI gave a bid and we thought it made sense to have solar panels installed."

Just as Reaver's company looks to provide energy efficiency for customers when installing glass curtain walls or other projects, it made sense for the business itself to go green, he said. Emmitsburg Glass has 90 employees.

The panels are from Lightway, manufactured in China, Elwell said, and the "racks" on which the panels sit were made by Dyna-Rac. A Soletria system converts the power from the panels into the building's electrical circuits. The system has no storage batteries.

Inside, a display shows how the system is working. It shows the electricity coming in live, as well as the amount of power generated daily, weekly and monthly by the system.

Mike Drei, director of marketing for Jonestown, Pa.-based ESI, said the company does residential systems, but most of its business is large commercial projects such as Emmitsburg Glass. The company has clients along the East Coast, Drei said.

Reaver would not disclose the cost of the system, but said it will pay for itself in seven years or less. Each project is different, Drei said, even when doing commercial properties of the same size, there are various factors to consider.

"We try initially to see how the business can lower its energy costs, use less electricity," Drei said. "If they can lower it, they may need a smaller solar panel system."

It took about 100 days to install the Emmitsburg Glass system, Drei said.

"Solar is not just slapping panels on a roof," he said. "Some builders tried to do that, and it wasn't the right way. There is a lot of complexity to doing it the right way."

Reaver said the system fit well into the architecture of the building, which opened in 2006.

(3) comments

sobuspaul

I am all for solar, but the price needs to come down. If the price is right, and you have the space, this is a very good idea.

president8444

ugly at best.

NASCARLOVER

You are certainly that, if nothing else, prez.[angry]

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