PERU — Here comes the sun has a new meaning for the Peru Free Library.
With 49 solar panels installed on the southernmost roof, the library will soon generate its own power.
Librarian Rebecca Pace received a New York State Library Construction Grant, which paid not only for the solar panels and their installation but also a new roof, walkway and gas furnace.
She tailored the library's needs to a portion of the grant that focused on saving energy and accessibility.
"Our sidewalk was falling apart," Pace said. "We needed a new furnace as well. Natural gas was coming into the area, and we decided that would be more energy efficient not having to buy all that oil."
The idea of solar panels triggered an ah-ha moment while she was writing the grant application.
"I had to present this to our board because this is a 50-50 grant. We would have to come up with 50 percent of the money, and 50 percent comes from the state.
"The board said that's a great idea, so I pursued it."
In April 2008, she attended a grant workshop in Glens Falls and learned that Clinton, Essex and Franklin counties never spent all the money allocated to them.
"Because we are an economically depressed area, a 50-50 grant is tough for a lot of libraries. I just figured, OK that means there is a lot of money available to us. All we have to do is come up with half of that."
The Peru Free Library Board promised to fund the library's portion if a grant could be secured. During the application process, Pace received a call from the grant overseer.