Keeping ice cream cold in the baking sun sounds practically impossible, unless you happen to be the owners of Grandstand Ice Cream.
The seasonal, family-owned stand on Highbridge Road is now harnessing the power of the sun to help reduce their energy costs — something that can be substantial when trying to keep freezers filled with ice cream amid the summer heat. Earlier this week, workers installed about 80 solar panels around the business and on its roof that will help reduce energy costs by roughly 25 percent.
And for manager Christine Ramundo, that’s money in the bank. She anticipates the 25,000-watt solar system will help to save between $300 and $400 per month in energy costs that she normally pays when the store is open from March through September.
“People have been taking notice,” she said. “They think it’s wonderful.”
The panels didn’t cost Ramundo a penny. Rensselaer-based Monolith Solar installed the panels free of charge and will generate power through them that will be transmitted into the grid year-round.
Formerly High Bridge Twist Ice Cream, Ramundo and her family took over the stand in May. The idea to install the panels came from her father, Gerry Scalzetto, who saw them at another area business.
“We wanted to be more green,” he said, “and we want more green in our pocket.”
Monolith has installed solar panels on and around a number of area buildings, including several municipally owned structures. The town of Niskayuna and Schenectady County are both generating electricity for Monolith in exchange for reduced energy costs.
At Grandstand, installing the panels was a no-brainer, Ramundo said. The panels don’t take up any space they were using and customers have taken notice of her new green approach to business.
“It’s been a big topic of conversation here,” she said.