LAKEWOOD, NY — Thanks to a state grant and a donation by a Buffalo business, the Lakewood Fire Department has gone solar.
Solar Liberty has installed solar electric panels on the roof of the fire station via grants made available through the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority. The project value of $192,192 was paid for by a $143,272 grant from NYSERDA and $48,920 donation by Solar Liberty for nonprofit organizations.
The project, which started with initial paperwork in 2007, was completed within the past month and is now producing solar electricity at the fire department. The solar electricity will offset about 35 percent of the building’s total electricity usage.
”It’s important to demonstrate that solar energy is a viable way to power a building,” said Adam Rizzo, Solar Liberty president. ”Nonprofit buildings, community centers and schools are especially important for promoting solar energy. These projects prove to business people and homeowners that a solar panel system gives a strong return on investment in New York state.”
During a Dec. 12 Lakewood Village Board meeting, Charles Smith, village building inspector, said initial estimates indicated there would be a potential cost savings of about $12,000 a year, plus an additional income of $12,000 a year. Smith said a special bi-directional meter will be installed by National Grid which allows the DC power generated by the solar panels to be converted into AC power, which is fed back into the electric grid. The village will be reimbursed for the electricity that is fed back into the electric grid.
During the December meeting, Joseph Troche, village trustee, said the late Mayor Anthony Caprino and he worked together on the grant, which didn’t cost the village of Lakewood a single penny.
Solar Liberty was founded in 2003 by brothers Adam and Nathan Rizzo.
The company has grown quickly and was recognized by Inc. magazine on the list of fastest growing private companies in 2008, ranking 92nd in the country and fifth among energy companies.
By Dennis Phillips