Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Firehouse joins WNY Solar Power Parade

CHEEKTOWAGA, NY – The new solar electric system at the Bellevue Fire District #9 firehouse has saved over $2,000 in electrical costs since the beginning of the year. The 140-panel photovoltaic system is on tract to produce an expected 29,260 kilowatt hours of electricity per year for the building at 511 Como Park Blvd. in Cheektowaga.

“With the increasing costs of energy, we wanted to offset some of our electrical costs in a way that wouldn’t raise the fire district budget,” explained Commissioner Jamie Casucci of the Bellevue Fire District. “There’s no down side to solar energy. The solar panel system will help prevent additional burden on the taxpayers from rising electricity rates.”

Most of the 28 kilowatt system’s cost was funded by a $137,000 grant from the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA). The remaining upfront cost will be paid back in just 6 years from the value of the electricity it produces. The Fire District is expecting to save $191,000 in energy costs over the system’s minimum 25-year warranted lifetime. That’s a 17.4% annual rate of return on investment.

The photovoltaic solar system was installed by Solar Liberty of Buffalo, which has recently completed similar systems for the Eggertsville Fire Department and South Dayton Fire Department.

“When public or nonprofit facilities use solar, they demonstrate to the community that upgrading a building with a solar energy system makes sense both financially and environmentally,” said Adam Rizzo, President of Solar Liberty. “Saving money on electricity is especially important for organizations that are dependent on the community for their support.”

Aside from saving money, the fire hall is a much greener building. The system will offset the firehouse’s carbon footprint by 501 tons of CO2 during the next 25 years of solar electricity production. This is the equivalent of planting a forest of 20,000 trees or removing 911,000 miles of automobile traffic from the roads.

“We’re currently looking at other ways to update the building in an effort to be more environmentally friendly while taking steps to save money,” according to Commissioner Casucci.

A Parade of Solar Power in Western NY

Solar Liberty has been installing hundreds of solar energy systems statewide for government, commercial, and residential customers. Recent local installations have been completed at dozens of Catholic Diocese schools, the downtown Merchant’s Insurance headquarters, and the town of West Seneca, as well as many Western New York State homes. Major upcoming installations are the 1.1 MW University at Buffalo solar project, the NFTA Bus Garage, and the Rochester International Airport.

Western NY has the Sun, and we've got Clean, Renewable Power!

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