La Farge Solar Plus Storage: A Story of Climate Resilience

Having lost power for days in the summer 2018 due to a 13 inch rain event that caused severe flooding, La Farge Lawton Memorial Library, Green Apple Inn and a small housing coop are now prepared to function off the grid, powered by Tesla Powerwall lithium-ion battery pacs. La Farge worked with Current Electric, who became a Tesla Powerwall Certified Installer, to install the Tesla Powerwalls.

The three installations were part of a group buy, which reduced the price. The library system cost of $20,000 for two Powerwalls was offset with the 30 percent solar investment tax credit in 2019 by their forming a simple LLC. Additional funds were raised by the Friends of the library and the Lions Club, leaving the library with a small quarterly payment. Community support enabled the library to purchase both the solar system and Powerwalls within a couple of months of each other. The library will serve as a community safe haven for residents without power to come and power up their cell phones and gather.

Other financing options for solar + storage are possible through the LEG Up loan program, offered through WCCU Credit Union. Through that program, up to $25,000 can be borrowed to finance a solar and/or storage system for 3% interest rate for five years.

The Green Apple Inn has electric vehicles that they charge predominantly from their solar panels. During the flooding the highways were impassable and the gas station was under water. This is an added resilience strategy for the Inn.