Solarizing of Hog Hammock Library

Tim Echols, left, Vice-Chair of the Georgia Public Service Commission, stands with Dr. Carolyn Dowse, who was instrumental in starting the Hog Hammock Library and for whom the new solar pavilion is named.
Tim Echols, left, Vice-Chair of the Georgia Public Service Commission, stands with Dr. Carolyn Dowse, who was instrumental in starting the Hog Hammock Library and for whom the new solar pavilion is named.

Hog Hammock Library is now operating on solar power, thanks to efforts initiated by Tim Echols, Vice-Chairman of the Georgia Public Service Commission. The completion of the pavilion that is equipped with solar panels for powering the library was celebrated on Aug. 24 at the library.

Echols tells how the accomplishment occurred.

“The idea started when I was visiting the island with a new resident – a black attorney from Boston who challenged me to find a way to meaningfully help the descendants of enslaved West Africans brought to the island 300 years ago to work on island plantations. We settled on figuring out a way to bolster the community library – which sat in the heart of the community.

“I went back to Atlanta and shared the vision with a newly formed organization of large-scale solar developers whose members were building solar farms across middle and south Georgia. Our Public Service Commission has been commissioning vast amounts of market-based solar since 2013 and these companies were a part of that success.

The new solar pavilion adjacent to the Hog Hammock Library will provide solar energy to the library.
The new solar pavilion adjacent to the Hog Hammock Library will provide solar energy to the library.

“Stepping forward to lead the project were two University of Georgia guys who had formed a company called Southern Current. Joining them in the effort was a French energy company called EDF who was intrigued by the French history of Sapelo. Rounding out the trio was my friend Dave who works for Yellawood, the pressure-treated pine company, who volunteered to supply all the wood for the project.

“It was decided after looking at the library and its roof that the mission to solarize the library would be better accomplished by building a pavilion to hold the panels next door to the library instead of roof-mounting the panels and risking any leaks that might damage artifacts in the important community structure. Such a pavilion could double as a picnic area at the adjacent playground and provide needed shade to any who might find themselves there.

“With the financial resources in place, the Department of Natural Resources staff began barging the materials over and in short order the project was completed. Within 48 hours, the pavilion not only provided all of the daytime energy needed by the library, but it pushed back 25 kilowatt hours to the grid triggering a credit on the library’s power bill.

Vaughnette Goode-Walker was the keynote speaker at the ribbon cutting event of solarizing the Hog Hammock Library.
Vaughnette Goode-Walker was the keynote speaker at the ribbon cutting event of solarizing the Hog Hammock Library.

“At the ribbon-cutting, it was my honor to dedicate and name the pavilion for Dr. Carolyn Dowse – who was instrumental in starting the Hog Hammock Library. Surrounded by residents and visitors, our small group celebrated the merger of technology and history.

“Solar is good for Georgia and great for Hog Hammock. Let’s keep it going.”

Reprint from The Darien News

Sapelo Island historical marker was erected by Georgia Historical Society in 2003
Sapelo Island historical marker was erected by Georgia Historical Society in 2003

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