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Catching some rays

Glenville Municipal Center adds solar panels

To Glenville officials, the sun can be used for more than just getting a tan.

Energy savings are being achieved at the Glenville Municipal Center through the installation of solar panels on the flat roof of the building.

The panels also didn't cost taxpayers anything, because of a grant from the New York Power Authority totaling $100,000 from the Petroleum Overcharge Recovery Fund. Money for the fund comes directly from petroleum companies. Another part of the project has a public education aspect to it, because there is a touch screen in the lobby allowing residents to view break downs of savings over time periods.

There is an instantaneous read out of what the current power output is and there are all sorts of historical data on the power that is being generated. There is a little piece on the solar energy as a science and there are energy savings that are listed on here, said James MacFarland, director of operations for Glenville.

There are instructions next to the touch screen on how to use it and residents are encouraged to come and use it. On a day with clear skies there is a bell curve of energy produced.

The system is roughly a 15kw system and from when it became operational in late March to the current day, June 21, the town had already reaped around $700 in energy savings. The maximum power output for the building is around 1 p.m. on an average day.

"We designed this system to be simple and long lasting and non-problematic," said MacFarland. "We sacrificed some pure energy output for long-term reliability and ease of maintenance. As it sits right now, we don't have to do anything with this for 25 years. There is no maintenance to be done."

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