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Residents say library needs to act on solar energy system

A group of Tiburon residents is protesting the Belvedere-Tiburon Library’s 2021 decision to put off the purchase of solar panels amid the building’s recent expansion, calling it “an embarrassment.” They cite urgency on a new U.N. report that the earth will meet a critical warming threshold within the next decade without drastic global change, as well as an important grid-connection deadline arriving in a matter of weeks.


But library officials say they have every intention of going solar, including storage batteries and a generator, when their finances permit — and that solar consultants have advised them to wait.


“As it turns out that was a good decision, because the library construction left us with a debt of $3 million,” library board member Jeff Slavitz said last week in an interview.


Tiburon resident Chuck Hornbrook — who serves on the town’s Parks, Open Space and Trails Commission and has expressed interest in serving on the Town Council — has been leading the charge, pressing the Library Agency board on its role in the climate crisis at its November meeting and following up with a presentation in January. He recruited others to join the fight ahead of the board’s March 20 meeting.


“There is still one last chance to shift course … but it will require industrialized nations to join together immediately to do this. Delays of even a few years will make that goal unattainable,” he told the board, referring to the U.N.’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report. “It was decisions you guys made in building this building that created the $3 million in debt.”


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