A manufacturing business in Schenectady County is celebrating a new $1.9 million rooftop solar project. Meanwhile, New York state leaders used the occasion to mark the launch of a new program aimed at getting more businesses to embrace solar power.
Standing on a roof at the Glenville Business and Technology Park Thursday, Dimension Fabricators President Scott Stevens looks out at a few hundred brand new solar panels.
It’s a sunny morning and the 1 million-watt solar array is cranking.
“We’re probably not buying any power right now, that’s right.”
In total there are 3,300 panels, enough to power about 120 homes.
Stevens said the panels would have covered 100 percent of Dimension’s energy needs, but earlier this year the company installed a brand new coating line for its rebar manufacturing business. He said the panels will cover about 90 percent of business’s electricity costs.
The panels, guaranteed for 20 years, will take about six years to pay for themselves.
A few minutes earlier, at a press conference downstairs, Stevens joked.
“And of course, we still got more roof, if we can go find more money,” said Stevens to laughter. “I’m kidding.”
But the financing is no joking matter. Dimension installed the panels with help from the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority, picking up about 15 percent of the cost, and a 30 percent federal tax credit.
Officials were celebrating the launch of a new NYSERDA program to get more businesses like Dimension to go solar.
NYSERDA President and CEO Alicia Barton said the new program is specifically targeted toward manufacturers and other businesses with large roofs.
“It’s under this concept known as ‘Solarize’ where you really have groups band together to do group buying, essentially, for solar products. You get a standardized offering and you streamline the marketing and sales process to make solar adoption even easier,” said Barton.
NYSERDA is partnering with the Center for Economic Growth on the project.
Since being launched by Governor Andrew Cuomo in 2014, the state’s Solarize program has supported 13.46 megawatts of installed solar, saving about $2.9 million on upfront purchasing costs.
The state has a goal to generate 50 percent of its electricity from renewable sources by 2030.
Democratic Capital Region Congressman Paul Tonko, a former NYSERDA president, said that Dimension’s investment proves that supporting business and the environment can go hand in hand.
“There are those deniers of the climate economy that will say ‘You can’t do this, they’re diametrically opposed.’ When, in fact, investing in a clean energy economy absolutely grows jobs,” said Tonko.