The Wayne County Commissioners, representatives from the Clean Energy Co-op, SEEDS (Sustainable Energy Education & Development Support), Wayne Tomorrow! and the Wayne Economic Development Corp. unveiled the educational component of the Stourbridge Solar Project on Wednesday, Oct. 27.
The panel not only shows the real-time function of the 33 kW system, it also explains how the energy from the sun is captured by the photo-voltaic panels on the roof, stored and used by the building and even how it connects to the local electricity grid and enhances resiliency.
Stourbridge Maker-in-Residence Lisa Glover said she created the informational panel with a lot of help from the various partners involved in the solar project, relying on the experts for the explanations and using equipment available at the Stourbridge Project to create the three-dimensional elements. The Wayne County Arts Alliance provided the funding for the materials used in its construction.
The laser-cut elements include trees bearing the names of the partner organizations, and a replica of the 1928 school building that houses the Stourbridge Project Business Incubator and Co-working Space as well as the solar array. Joined to it by a string of utility poles is an abbreviated version of Honesdale’s Main Street. Glover said she used her background as an architect to identify and incorporate key architectural elements from the town to allow the viewer’s imagination to fill in the missing parts of the familiar streetscape.
The commissioners said, “Using innovative solar technology was a perfect fit for the Stourbridge Project, a hub for innovation and education. Monitoring the power output allows people to see in real time, the power the sun is generating." By adding the information kiosk, the solar system is also an educational tool, demonstrating the exact measure of power generation.
When the project was first proposed more than two years ago, its key value lay in its ability to educate the public about the value of solar energy, but rising post-pandemic energy prices indicate the county will start saving money on the project sooner than initially expected.