Schenectady County

Officials: Solar-power system could save Schenectady County $20K yearly

Schenectady County expects to save at least $20,000 annually in utility costs by installing photovol

Schenectady County expects to save at least $20,000 annually in utility costs by installing photovoltaic systems on 10 of its buildings, according to officials.

Monolith Solar Associates of East Greenbush will install the systems at no charge to the county under a 15-year agreement. The county will agree to purchase electricity from Monolith but will get a discount of up to 30 percent.

County Attorney Chris Gardner said the $20,000 annual savings is a conservative estimate, and savings could go higher. “Savings can escalate since our electric rates are based on the highest one-hour peak demand. In instances where the county can lower its peak demand, our rates can be significantly lower,” he said.

Monolith will install systems estimated to produce 33,000 kilowatt hours annually. It will receive federal credits and state incentives through the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority to cover the cost of the systems, he said.

Gardner said he and county Legislator Jeffrey McDonald, D-Schenectady, chairman of the Public Facilities Committee, approached contractors to install photovoltaic systems as a way to save money. He said the county did not solicit contractors through formal requests for proposals, as speed was essential. “A lot of these credits expire at the end of the year,” he said. He added that the county did not need to solicit bids because it is not spending any money on construction.

Under the agreement, Monolith will install photovoltaic systems ranging in size from 25 to 200 kilowatts on county-owned buildings housing the jail, highway department, central library, Rotterdam library, Woodlawn library, ice skating rink, Duanesburg library, Niskayuna library, the science building of Schenectady County Community College and the Department of Social Services at 797 Broadway.

“Schenectady County can go solar at no expense to taxpayers,” McDonald said. “This continues our efforts to provide a more efficient government to taxpayers while increasing our use of renewable energy.”

Gardner said he expects the systems to be installed by the end of this year.

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