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Wyoming Supervisors take shine to Solar Liberty

WARSAW NY — A Buffalo-based solar energy company has received Wyoming County’s official endorsement.

The county’s Board of Supervisors on Tuesday approved a resolution naming Solar Liberty Energy Systems Inc. of Buffalo.

The company, in consultation with the county, is tasked with identifying and developing specific municipal solar projects within Wyoming County; and promoting cost-effective solar to the community, businesses and farms through education seminars and events.

The latter is described as the county’s “Brighter Wyoming” campaign.

“This is one area I think fits well with all of our green initiatives within the county,” said Town Supervisor Dan Leuer of Middlebury, chairman of the county’s Planning Committee. “This company is at the forefront at these types of installations and agreements, with municipalities, businesses and residential users. They’ve been in business a number of years, and they have a lot of credibility, and that’s really important in this industry.”

County Economic Development Director Bill Daly outlined the county’s solar energy push in January.

The goal is cheaper electric rates for county residents and businesses. The savings would be generated via renewable energy.

According to Solar Liberty’s website, the company was founded in 2003, by brothers Adam and Nathan Rizzo.

The company grew quickly and was recognized by Inc. magazine on the list of Fastest Growing Private Companies in 2008. It ranked 92nd in the country and fifth among energy companies.

Leuer said Solar Liberty has installed systems in 85 municipalities statewide, and has more than 1,000 commercial and residential projects. Their work includes a notable project at the University at Buffalo.

Wyoming County is pursuing several commercial and government-related projects, Leuer said. They’re in the “very, very preliminary” stages, although some may be announced over the next several months.

The advantage, he said, is Solar Liberty customers can “lock in” fixed-price electric rates over a period — even 20 to 25 years — and save money in the process.

He described one possible arrangement as very attractive, with very low or no-capital start-ups.

“The other thing is this initiative dovetails very well with (Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s) proposals for the creation of microgrids within the state of New York,” he said. “Here, a municipality, town or village would create a solar array. They would provide power to their town facilities, library and maybe houses as well, and sell the excess back to the grid.”

County officials are very excited about the idea’s potential, he said. He also noted solar isn’t as controversial as wind energy.

Leuer said the overall technology involved in solar power generation has become more efficient.

“Those sites which wouldn’t necessarily have been attractive 10 or 15 years ago are now very viable,” he said.

By Matt Surtel