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New Scotland hears second solar proposal

Company touts larger estimated savings of $370k over 20 years

— Competition is brewing for New Scotland’s bid into solar energy, with a second company claiming it could offer even more savings annually on electricity bills.

The New Scotland Town Board on Wednesday, May 14, heard Apex Solar Power’s proposal to provide solar energy to lower the town’s electricity bills through a Power Purchase Agreement (PPA). The proposal included building a 250,000-watt system, which was almost double the size of the prior proposal. Apex estimated the larger system would save the town around $373,000 over 20 years.

About 1,000 photovoltaic panels would be installed on less than a 1-acre under the proposal and generate more than 260,000 kWh, which would cover the town’s annual usage.

Doug Underhill, solar energy broker for Apex, said he learned the town was looking into solar energy through his mother, who lives in Slingerlands, reading an article in The Spotlight on Monolith Solar Associates’ recent presentation to the board.

Underhill said he contacted Town Supervisor Tom Dolin on what his Queensbury-based company could offer “above and beyond” competitors.

Savings are projected to increase each year, which is similar to other solar energy proposals through a PPA. The first year the town is estimated to save almost $7,500, with the 20th year yielding more than $31,600 in savings.

If the town entered into a PPA with Apex, the company would cover installation and maintenance costs. The company would provide solar energy to the town and sell electricity produced at a discounted rate.

Underhill said the well field at the Winnie Lane pump house would be the prime location to install solar panels, but the transformer would need to be upgraded for a full-build out. The company is obtaining a quote for the town to upgrade the transformer.

The panels would be ballast-mounted, low to the ground. Costs would “increase significantly” with a pole-mounted system, according to Ben Sopczyk, solar executive of Apex. A ballast-mounted system would also allow for the panels to be more easily moved.

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