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Town Board: Let there be light

Tennis court repair OK'd after six-figure solar bid comes in

It won't be as easy as flipping a switch, but the lights over the Town of Bethlehem's Elm Avenue Park tennis courts will be coming back on.

The Town Board voted unanimously to make repairs to the failing electrical system on Wednesday, June 23, after a proposal to install a solar power system there came in too high.

Director of Parks and Recreation Nan Lanahan said the town would immediately seek quotes for electrical work, materials and equipment rental. The project is estimated to cost $13,000, which will be covered by deferring the purchase of a lawn mower by the rec department.

The resolution to fix the lights mirrored one presented by Supervisor Sam Messina about a month ago, when his motion was not met with a second. Board members at the time said they'd not had time to study the problem and would like to look into a solar system.

But a proposal from Schenectady-based Epergy LLC came in at $130,000, after NYSERDA rebates, which officials agreed was prohibitive. Plus, given the wattage of the lights a standalone system would be impossible, so the electrical repairs would have to be made anyways.

It would take about 30 years for energy savings to cover the cost of the project.

I think it was good we went through the exercise to see what a solar system would cost us, Councilman Mark Hennessey said, adding the information will be useful as the town looks for other opportunities to use renewable energy.

The Parks and Recreation Department first noticed the problem earlier this season when it came time to activate the lights and they were turning off or dimming, said Lanahan,.

"Once we started having them on for a lengthy period of time it become evident this was a problem," she said.

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