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USDA Building has New Solar Panel

By Heather Harper

The Memphis USDA building’s front knoll has recently been graced by a large solar panel in the past month. The new solar panel was installed by the owners of the building.

Tom Myers, one of the owners of the building and M & O Concrete, said the panel was installed to reduce energy cost, while producing enough energy to power the entire building.

“That solar panel down there will produce enough power to completely take care of all the needs in the USDA building. So, you can say that’s a green building down there now,” he added.

Myers, who has been interested in solar energy, researched areas such as specific reasons to get into solar and other alternatives.

Aside from the USDA building, there is also a solar panel set up behind M & O Concrete, and one set up at his home as well. He stated the solar panel, “takes care of all the energy here and stuff for this building too…. Then I’ve got one at my house that takes care of the energy at the house.” He said that they had been slowly working towards getting one installed at the USDA building.

The main purpose of the new solar panel, according to Myers, is to reduce energy, saving high priced energy with solar energy.

“It also helps the city to have the solar because on high demand, peak periods, our solar’s been able to lower that demand rate for the city the so cost for the demand rates slashed,” he saidl

The energy is fed back into the grid and then credit is received for what is fed back into the grid, with Myers commenting that the energy goes into a net meter: “If you can imagine, when we’re producing power, the meter’s running backwards, and then when we’re not producing power and we’re using power the meter runs the other direction.”

The solar panel system that is installed at the USDA building is a tracker system, meaning it tracks the sun as it moves. The panel installed at M & O’s building is a stationary panel. The tracker system, according to Myers, is “kind of a new thing. It’s not new, but it’s really become more popular because it produces 40 to 50 percent more energy than a stationary system.”