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Dobbs Ferry to Harness Sun’s Energy for Electricity

DOBBS FERRY, NY – The Dobbs Ferry Board of Trustees has awarded a bid to Solar Liberty to install solar panels on the village library and DPW buildings.

About a year and a half ago, the village applied for a grant from the New York State Energy Research and Development Accociation (NYSERDA)—a state agency created to reduce New York’s overall petroleum consumption—for a grant to purchase the panels.

“At that point, though, solar panels were considerably more expensive,” said Nina Orville, chair of Dobbs Ferry’s energy task force. Dobbs Ferry was granted the $276,000 from NYSERDA that they anticipated the project would cost—but it came in at only $184,000. According to the grant conditions, Dobbs Ferry is required to pay 14 cents on every dollar spent on the panels.

Trustees were very concerned Tuesday with learning how Orville and OLA Consulting, the outside engineering company hired to help guide the project, would spend the leftover grant money.

“We have incorporated an education kiosk associated with the solar panels at the library,” said OLA’s John Torre.

Orville added that they would also able to expand the scope of the project on the public works building.

Overall, Orville said the library system should provide 6 percent of the electricity consumed by that building. She added that Dobbs Ferry library has other energy efficiency projects underway—or soon to be underway—including HVAC controls and lighting retrofit that “should reduce overall consumption and result in an increase in the percentage of electricity provided by the panels.”

At the DPW, the original size of the scoped system—just over 25 kilowatts—would have resulted in provision of 30 percent of the electricity required. That system will be expanded by a minim of 6 kilowatts—using the surplus funds—resulting in 37 percent of power generated from the panels.

“And we’re looking at an additional increase in size that will further boost these numbers,” Orville said.

The panels should be installed by September, 2011.

The grant from NYSERDA was part of federal stimulus funding that is no longer available. “Since these opportunities are not around anymore, we want to take full advantage of the grants we have,” Orville said.

Rivertowns Patch
By Lizzie Hedrick