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Guilderland to review solar options

Consultants will assess town rooftops and properties for panel installation

Jeff Conrad, executive vice president of Solomon Energy, talks about the possibility of installing solar panels at various locations in Guilderland during a presentation to the Town Board Tuesday, Jan. 21.

Jeff Conrad, executive vice president of Solomon Energy, talks about the possibility of installing solar panels at various locations in Guilderland during a presentation to the Town Board Tuesday, Jan. 21. Photo by John Purcell.

— Guilderland is moving forward with a “risk free” assessment of the town’s potential to harness solar power across a variety of sites, with infrastructure and aesthetics likely playing a role towards possibilities.

At its Tuesday, Jan. 21, meeting, the Town Board approved contracting with Solomon Energy Inc. for consulting services on studying the feasibility of installing a photovoltaic system across town-owned buildings and property. Solomon Energy projects a full build out across 11 potential sites generating up to 11.36 million kilowatt-hours could save the town nearly $1.5 million over 25 years. Consultants did contend some prospective sites might not be feasible to install panels for various reasons.

“From the projections we’ve seen, which we’ve been informed that they’re conservative projections, there is some significant cost savings to the town,” Town Supervisor Ken Runion said. “There is really no cost to the town, so there is a benefit and we don’t have any capital outlay at all.”

The services will be provided to the town at no cost because fees for services would be charged to the winning bidder the town contracts with for a Power Purchase Agreement (PPA). If the town decides to forgo installing panels, there would also be no cost, with consultants essentially providing the research for free.

“If we get to the end and we find out there is no benefit, then it didn’t cost the town anything,” Runion said.

Electricity costs for the town are annually around $500,000 paying at the rate of $0.118 per kilowatt-hour, according to data provided by Solomon Energy. A full build out is projected to yield annual savings starting at $21,600 and increasing to $111,315.

The proposed locations and installation type, along system size, include the Town Hall roof (50 kW), Department of Public Works building roof (318 kW), transfer station ground mount (6,400 kW) and roof (65 kW), water district building roof (273 kW) and carport (558 kW), two roof installations on parks and recreation buildings (totaling 33 kW) and a ground mount (652 kW), and on a roof (151 kW) and carport (969 kW) at the town golf course.

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