PETERSBURGH, N.Y. -- Town supervisor Siegfried Krahforst started considering solar energy for Petersburgh’s town buildings when he took office in 2012, and the project is now underway.

"I’ve had solar on my house for the last 15 years," Krahforst said. "The idea was to get solar energy in here to augment our electric bills."

After an initial assessment of all town buildings by the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority, the town realized it could cut energy costs by having solar panels installed for the town hall and water district.

Krahforst is leasing out space behind the town hall to Monolith Solar in a power-purchase agreement to build a 25-kilowatt system. Monolith will put the majority of the photovoltaic cells’ output into the power grid. The town hall will assume a percentage of that power in exchange for the 20-year lease. Krahforst anticipates a $1,000-annual return on the town’s energy bill.

The small solar field behind the town hall is expected to be finished by mid-June. The town has already installed the fixtures. The details of installation of Petersburgh Water District’s solar field are not yet finalized.

Once the town hall project is completed, Monolith will provide a computer monitor to be displayed inside the building. From there, the town may monitor the instant and daily output of the system. Petersburgh bookkeeper Charles Guntner said he plans to integrate that feed into the town website to have it available to the public.

"I have been using solar electric for 25 years," said Guntner. "I’ve always tried to educate people as to benefits or the realities of it. The great thing about this project being for a public building Š we can educate the public of those benefits and realities of solar."

To learn more about Monolith Solar and its no-cost power purchase agreement for municipal, residential or commercial solar energy, visit http://www.monolithsolar.com/.

Contact Tom Momberg at tmomberg@benningtonbanner.com. Follow him on Twitter @TomMomberg