VERNON, NY – Let the savings begin. The solar panels are up, the sun is shining and if National Grid would just get to Vernon and put in a meter, the new panels on the town hall could be put to work.
“They are supposed to be here within the next couple of weeks,” said Town of Vernon Supervisor Myron Thurston.
And Tuesday, Congressman Michael Arcuri, D-23, the town Thurston with a check for $10,000 toward the green project. The funds are part of a USDA Rural Development stimulus package allotted for green technology and approved by legislators last winter.
“The beauty of giving this money, is residents of the town get to save money over time on electricity.” said Arcuri before a small group consisting mostly of council members and Legislator Michael Hennessy D-2.
“That’s right and those electric prices are just going to keep going up,” said Thurston.
After grants of $133,000 from New York State Energy Research and Development Authority, $10,000 Rural Development grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, and $3,000 from Oneida County, the town will kick in $15,000 for its share of the project.
Thurston has estimated the panels will generate approximately 78 percent of the power used within the building.
The 160 panels only need daylight to generate power, which will flow into meters along the outside of the building. Excess power generated will go back into the electrical grid and will be sent back to the town hall when the panels are not generating as much power.
The meters will actually run backwards when excess power is generated.
While Councilman Eugene Bennati said he had initially needed convincing the panels would save the town money, Councilman Dick Sheeron was on board from the beginning.
“I didn’t have to be convinced,” said Sheeron. “The parochial schools and parishes in Buffalo are doing these and they have to pinch pennies. They wouldn’t do it if there wasn’t a savings.”
Solar Liberty, located in Williamsville, which installed the green technology, has guaranteed the panels against winds up to 100 miles per hour and hail the size of one inch.
“The panels actually produce more energy when the temperature is zero than when it’s 80 degrees outside,” Thurston told Arcuri.
“I don’t know how much sunlight we get but we get plenty of zero weather,” joked the congressman.
The Oneida Daily Dispatch
By Jody McNichol
Dispatch Staff Writer