Trumansburg Library Goes Solar

Submitted by Asia Bonacci

This week’s Sustainability Spotlight comes to us from Trumansburg, New York, in the heart of the Finger Lakes Region. Trumansburg’s beloved Ulysses Philomathic Library has begun generating solar power in an effort to be greener and keep operating costs down.

Through a Library Construction grant of $55,313, awarded by the New York State Education Department, and with the matching amount raised by UPL’s community of members, the full cost of the project has been paid and the payback period has already begun. Thanks to a mild winter, panels were installed early in 2016 by Taitem Engineering from nearby Ithaca. It is believed that the panels will provide, over the course of a year, 100% of the electricity used annually at the Library. The projected solar savings also allowed the library to forgo its annual request to the public for a tax levy increase.

The decision to go solar came about after a two-year examination of UPL’s energy use by its Building and Grounds committee.  Solar represented a way to become more environmentally responsible, but its benefits are even greater than that. “It’s responsible to move forward with any kind of energy conservation, and people in the community support that.  We also, as a library, have a role as an educational and cultural resource, so this presents a wonderful educational opportunity for us in the community,” said UPL Director Annette Birdsall. For more info, contact or visit or contact Annete Birdsall


Solar Panels on Trumansburg Library.‚Äč




The Sustainability Spotlight is a weekly series that highlights community-driven, environmentally sound, and economically responsible programs and projects in libraries and other organizations. You can find more projects in the Sustainability Spotlight Archive or visit NYLA's Sustainability Initiative to learn more about how you can get started with sustainability in your library.