AMHERST, NY – Through a state conservation grant, Eggertsville Hose Company has made its fire hall energy-efficient with the recent installation of 140 solar power modules on the roof of the truck bays.
John Kwiatkowski, Eggertsville’s project leader, said the solar panels, which were activated March 8, will produce approximately 30 to 50 percent of the fire hall’s energy output.
“This project just seemed to be economically feasible, and it just made sense,” he said.
The modules were installed at a horizontal 10-degree angle facing south. Each module is connected to an inverter in the fire hall’s electrical room. Installation of the modules was done by Solar Liberty, 6500 Sheridan Drive.
Kwiatkowski said the life of the panels’ power output will be about 25 years, and the district’s energy savings will equal the cost of the system within five to seven years.
The $214,000 project was mainly funded by a grant from the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority, which reduced Eggertsville Hose’s cost by nearly 80 percent.
“The total that our company had to pay for was approximately $36,000,” Kwiatkowski said.
When the fire company initially examined cutting energy costs, Kwiatkowski said the installation of geothermal wells was being considered. However, due to the high cost — approximately $400,000 — he said solar panels were the better option.
“This project was over two years in the making, from the time we applied for the grant to now,” Kwiatkowski said. “And the panels aren’t easily seen. Nobody can really see that they are there, and they sure will help out the taxpayers.”
Eggertsville Hose Company’s Fire Chief John Buttino said the panels will have a positive impact on the environment.
“It’s great that these energy costs will be reduced for the taxpayers,” he said. “We ’re very pleased with it, but we are more pleased that it will help our environmental resources.”
Kwiatkowski said the life span of the solar panels will reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 546 tons of carbon dioxide, which is equivalent to driving a midsize vehicle for approximately 1 million miles or planting nearly 22,000 trees.
“I realize it sounds clichéd, but it’s a win-win,” Kwiatkowski said. “I think this will really help out the fire district.”
The Amherst Bee
By KEATON T. DEPRIEST, Associate Editor