The New York State United Teachers union has taken on an energy-saving initiative by partnering with Monolith Solar to install solar panels at all of their regional offices.
Monolith Solar announced its partnership with NYSUT, a statewide union, earlier this month. In partnership with the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority, the solar company supplied the investment capital needed to install panels at NYSUT offices.
It is projected that at the Latham headquarters office alone, the solar project will save the union more than $70,000 over the next 20 years. The savings will be used to benefit the union’s members.
“For an organization with such an expansive footprint across New York State that includes several locations, rising energy costs present a huge issue. Thanks to the new solar panel installations, NYSUT is able to look forward to reaping the benefits of lower energy costs for decades,” Mark Fobare, Monolith CEO and President, said in a prepared statement.
“We approached the company (Monolith) in the fall of 2012, and a deal was worked out in spring 2013,” said Matt Smith, a NYSUT public information officer. “Every year, our union has an annual policy-making convention in which delegates to the union gather and vote on resolutions to set the agenda for the union. One of the things they wanted was to deal with energy conservation and a move toward alternate energies.”
According to Monolith, the 200-kilowatt solar system installed at NYSUT’s Latham office will show immediate savings on energy bills in the first year for the union, which will continue to rise in the coming years. Systems at each office will provide different percentages of energy for the building.
The system at the Latham office includes 671 solar panels, which were installed on the roof of the building in early August. While the system is the largest that could be installed, it will not provide enough to power the entire building, said Smith. However, it is enough to provide significant savings for the union.
Installations at NYSUTs offices in Buffalo, Syracuse, Potsdam and Vessel have been completed. Plans to outfit the remaining offices in Rochester, Utica and Kingston are underway and waiting for NYSERDA approval, Smith said.
The system in Latham also includes a television in the main lobby that monitors the energy produced by the solar panel installations at its offices around the state. That way, people can see the overall impact of the project.
“Earlier, there was a graph showing the amount of solar power that was produced in Buffalo,” said Smith.
NYSUT is just one of several local organizations that have recently partnered with Monolith. The solar energy company has been expanding operations across the Capital District, including, most recently, its expansion into the Vista Technology Campus in Slingerlands. Monolith’s administration and production and research center, as well as an additional solar farm, will be housed on the campus.
Other companies that have partnered with Monolith on solar projects include Spectrum Theatre in Albany and Glenmont Self Storage. The South Colonie School District is also on track to see Monolith’s solar panels go up after NYSERDA approved a grant to fund the project.