Town of Clay, NY — The town of Clay unveiled a new solar energy project that will save the town about $16,000 a year on energy costs.
Despite the fact that the sun did not shine this afternoon, Clay Town Supervisor Damian Ulatowski wanted to announce the project today as a celebration of Earth Day.
“This is one of the most exciting things the town of Clay has done in a long time,” Ulatowski said.
The town installed a 99 kilowatt ground-mount photovoltaic solar array at the town hall and highway garage located at 4401 state Route 31 in Clay. The solar panels will be turned on soon, Ulatowski said.
The town began this project in 2013 in partnership with Warner Energy, LLC and funded through a New York State Energy Research and Development Authority grant.
The system is comprised of 396 high-efficiency solar panels installed on town property. The 250 watt solar panels and related electrical equipment convert sunlight into power that will be used for lighting and electrical equipment at the town hall and highway building. If the solar array is generating energy in excess of the town’s needs, it will be sold back to the grid and used by other utility customers.
The solar project costs $326,686. NYSERDA is funding $181,343 and the remaining costs are funded by Warner Energy. No Clay town tax dollars are being used in the project, Ulatowski said. Warner Energy owns, operates and maintains the system, he said.
Ulatowski said the town has contracted to use the solar power for 20 years.
Ulatowski said the town will save about $16,000 a year on energy costs, but the actual savings is unknown at this time. The town will monitor the savings throughout the year and report it to the taxpayers.
The project was funded by NYSERDA and Warner Energy. The town did not pay for the installation, Ulatowski said.
“We are only the host,” he said.
Ulatowski said the solar panel system generates clean, renewable energy that will offset the emission of tons of greenhouse gases. This is equivalent to thousands of gallons of gasoline, or the carbon sequestered by planting 9.7 acres of pine forest.
Monitoring system will be installed in the lobby of both buildings, which will allow detailed, real-time data collection and analysis.
“We can’t depend on fossil fuels for the rest of our lives,” Ulatowski said. “That is a limited supply. As I understand it, there’s an orb that floats above us each and every day, although you don’t see it today, it has been around for billions of years. And every day that it rises it brings energy and heat that the town of Clay is now able to tap into.”