So­lar firm makes sec­ond pitch to school district

Daily Freeman (Kingston, NY) - - LOCAL NEWS - By Wil­liam J. Kem­ble news@free­manon­line.com

The com­pany So­lar City is making an­other pitch for the Kingston school district in­stall so­lar energy pan­els as a way to bring down elec­tric­ity costs.

The pro­posal to the Board of Ed­u­ca­tion at a meet­ing last week was the com­pany’s sec­ond in the last year. So­lar City Project De­vel­op­ment Man­ager Nick Walsh said a Novem­ber 2015 pro­posal was dropped be­cause of space lim­i­ta­tions.

“The prob­lem last time ... was con­cen­trat­ing on the build­ings them­selves and putting so­lar on the roofs of the build­ings,” he said. “It was de­ter­mined that may not be the best course of ac­tion in that some of the build­ings are a lit­tle older or the roofs were a lit­tle bit older, and just from a struc­tural stand­point [it] didn’t make a lot of sense.”

Walsh said the com­pany now is re­view­ing undis­closed prop­er­ties that could be used for so­lar panel ar­rays that would put elec­tric­ity into the grid and credit the school district against the amount of energy it uses.

“We could use what is ... called ‘re­mote net me­ter­ing,’ where we’ll ac­tu­ally get land in the district, it doesn’t have to be school prop­erty, put the so­lar [pan­els] on that land, and then the me­ter that is run­ning with that so­lar sys­tem will cal­cu­late all the kilo­watt hours that are be­ing pushed out into the grid,” he said.

“In an ideal sce­nario, we’ve got a lease on land for 10 to 15 acres,” Walsh said. “Right now, we’re talk­ing to a num­ber of dif­fer­ent in­ter­ested landown­ers.”

Walsh said the project could pro­duce 3 mil­lion kilo­watt hours of elec­tric­ity per year.

“You’re cur­rently us­ing about 8,670,000 kilo­watt hours,” he told the school board, mean­ing the so­lar energy pro­duc­tion would equal about 35 per­cent of the district’s power us­age.

Re­gard­ing cost, “we have pro­jec­tions that ... the district’s go­ing to save about $30,635 in year one with an 18-year sav­ings of $627,000,” Walsh said.

If the district ap­proves the agree­ment, it would be able to ei­ther pur­chase the equip­ment at the end of the deal or ask that it be re­moved.

“So­lar City pays to put all the equip­ment in, we’re in­vest­ing all the money, and... we own the sys­tem,” Walsh said. “There’s no upfront cost to the district.”

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