H.F. solar power plan moving forward

Monday February 25, 2013

HOOSICK FALLS, N.Y. -- Officials are just waiting for a contract to sign before work can begin to slash the village's total electricity bill by 25 percent.

In a presentation to board members earlier this month, Steve Erby and Tyler Justin of Monolith Solar Associates, LLC, outlined the proposed power purchase agreement (PPA) with the village of Hoosick Falls.

Under the proposal, Monolith will agree to install, own, and maintain two 50 kW solar arrays, planned to be located on village property at the water treatment and wastewater plants. There is no out-of-pocket expense for the municipality, and the contractual term of the PPA will be for 25 years.

In turn, the village agrees to purchase electricity produced by the solar panels, at a cost of 25 percent below what the village would pay on the open market.

"(There's) no cost and nothing but savings," said Trustee David Borge at the Feb. 12 meeting. "We have to pay the bills anyway. ... Why not pay (at a lower rate)?"

The village of Hoosick Falls budgeted an even $200,000 in its most recent budget.

In a telephone interview Friday, Mayor Matthew Monahan said a nonbinding letter of intent had been signed with Monolith earlier this month, and all the village was waiting for now was the contract. "It's just paperwork at this point."

The initial arrangement is expected to result in one 50 kW array on the roof of the municipality's water treatment plant, and a second system on the ground next to the waste water plant.

The solar arrays could be fully operational by the end of June. Given the savings, Monahan said the village was looking to move forward quickly.

Future options could include a much larger solar installation of 1 MW at the site of the village's former landfill, now capped and decommissioned.

Based in Rensselaer, Monolith has been exclusively in the solar business since 2009. Erby said at the village meeting his company started out in construction in 2003. Previous municipal customers have included East Greenbush, Rensselaer, Schenectady, and Niskayuna.

"We're on jails," said Erby, noting the installations may also be found atop Brunswick Harley Davidson in Troy and, most recently, Countryside Woodcraft in Hoosick.

Follow @Zeke_Wright on Twitter or email ewright@benningtonbanner.com


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