By Phoenix Business Journal

The Burton Barr Central Library hosted a green ribbon-cutting ceremony today to celebrate the completion of the SolarWing panels in its parking area.

The canopy system of 42 slanted solar panels shades 84 parking spaces at the library. The panels also provide the library with low-cost energy, with each one producing about enough to power 0.6 homes.

An Energy Efficiency Conservation Block Grant from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 funded the $1.3 million project.

⿿This product uses renewable energy and is good for any building,⿝ said Sandy Werthman, SolarWing⿿s chief marketing officer. ⿿Once the product is paid for, it⿿s essentially free.⿝

The Phoenix company focused on architectural design to create the system of slanted panels. Click the image above for photos of this morning's event.

⿿The project shows that great function and form can work together in harmony,⿝ said Tim Lambright, chief financial officer of SolarWing. ⿿You can find a solution for those interested in both sustainability and architecture.⿝

SKY Renewable Energy, another Phoenix company, installed the panels. All products used in the construction, including the panels and steel, came from Arizona.

⿿In the years to come, Burton Barr will not be paying energy costs. This project is really the gift that keeps on giving,⿝ said Scott Young, owner of SKY.

Phoenix City Council members Bill Gates and Michael Johnson both spoke at the ribbon-cutting about how Arizona is becoming an established leader in solar energy. Renewable energy offers an opportunity for growth in the worlds of economics, business and sustainability, Gates said.

Solar energy can be especially appealing to todayâ¿¿s generation when they are looking to relocate to different cities. Gates said Phoenix has the chance to be innovative, and he believes more businesses will be looking at solar projects to cut costs.

⿿We couldn⿿t have a better place for this project,⿝ said Johnson. ⿿The project encourages kids to study renewable energy when they see it. This is the future, and it will give us a healthier and happier life.⿝

Copyright 2011 American City Business Journals

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