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New Scotland reviewing solar panel options

Company estimates photovoltaic system would be $93.6K savings over 20 years

Lindsey McEntire of Monolith Solar Associates gives a presentation on energy savings New Scotland could realize after installing solar panels at the Town Board meeting Wednesday, April 9.

Lindsey McEntire of Monolith Solar Associates gives a presentation on energy savings New Scotland could realize after installing solar panels at the Town Board meeting Wednesday, April 9. Photo by John Purcell.

— Sunny days could be ahead for New Scotland if energy savings from a photovoltaic system are as much as an area company forecasts. The system would also provide more reliable energy costs.

Lindsey McEntire of Monolith Solar Associates laid out a proposal to install photovoltaic panels across three town-owned properties for a 134,100-watt system, which would cover approximately 60 percent of the town’s energy needs. Monolith estimated the system would result in an accumulated savings of around $93,000 over 20 years. Savings are projected to increase each year, with a locked utility increasing 1.75 percent annually.

New Scotland would enter into a Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) with Monolith, the same type of plan Guilderland is also weighing, which would have the company providing solar energy, maintaining the system and paying upfront costs for installation. The company would then sell electricity produced on sites to the town at a discounted rate.

“We all know that electricity rates are going up. This winter, we’ve seen them go up in some cases around 300 percent,” McEntire said. “What we are allowing you to do is lock in to an electric rate for solar power for 20 years.”

The town’s current annual usage is 262,963 kWh, and the proposed system would generate 158,175 kWh annually. The proposal had two 39.6 kW systems ground-mounted, with one at the town landfill at Upper Flat Rock Road and the other behind the Winnie Lane pump house. The third would be a 54.9 kW system on top of the town’s garage.

The first year, the town is estimated to save almost $2,700, but the savings would increase annually over time.

“Each year, your savings are going to keep increasing because the price of electricity you are purchasing from the grid is going up,” McEntire said. “As the grid goes up, your savings with Monolith are substantial.”

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