The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) has helped a fire district in NY State go green by going high tech.
Averill Park Fire District
Averill Park’s Fire District provides first response fire and EMS service for over 3,500 people. It covers more than 10 square miles. The firehouse is Averill Park’s emergency shelter, and served the community and crews from the National Grid during the ice storm of 2008. During this time, firehouse staff served over 300 meals every day!
This crucial facility needs upgrading, and now the Fire District is becoming a leader in solar energy. They are installing a 27.6 kWh dual-axis tracking solar electric system which will reduce their carbon footprint, and save taxpayers’ money.
Fire Commissioner Ron Berti explains the Fire District motivation. “Our job is to provide emergency services to the community, and as such we are fully aware of needing to be on the cutting edge of technology.”
The Fire District will receive over 90% of the costs for the project from the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA), which administers funding from the ARRA. “There is no way you can do this project without NYSERDA,” said Mr. Berti.
The solar tracking arrays are going to be installed behind the Fire House. The arrays rotate horizontally and vertically, following the sun from sunrise to sunset. Electricity generated by this system is expected to save local taxpayers at least $6,137 every year.
The project will produce over 42,000 kWh of renewable energy.
This solar energy project is helping New York State—and the entire U.S.—reduce its dependence on fossil fuels. The project will prevent the release of 35,000 pounds of damaging carbon dioxide gases being pumped into the atmosphere. And this saves taxpayers’ money, too.
“We have not raised taxes in three years,” explained Mr. Berti. “The budget has gotten very tight with the increase in energy costs.”
By reducing electricity costs with the solar array, Mr. Berti hopes they won’t have to increase taxes for another two years.
The Averill Park firefighters are already heroes in the community, said Mr. Berti. By using solar energy and not polluting the sky, firefighters are champions of the environment too.
Made in America—by Americans
Projects like this one help the local economy, and the U.S. economy, by putting Americans to work. The SolarNovar solar panels used–four ground-mounted, two-axis solar trackers—are assembled at SolarNovar’s facility in Plattsburgh, NY. The SMA inverters used are manufactured at SMA’s facility in Denver, CO.
“It is very important we buy American products,” said Mr. Berti, who is worried that the U.S. manufacturing capacity is currently dormant. “This program is proving jobs to create [the manufacturing capacity], and jobs to put it in the ground.”
Sources used in researching this article include NYSERDA: Averill Park Fire District #2 Goes (High Tech) Green
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