The nearly $2 million solar array consists of 3,300 panels and produces up to a million watts, enough electricity to supply as many as 120 homes, said Scott Stevens, Dimension Fabricators’ president.
A number of officials attended, including the newly named president and CEO of the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority, Alicia Barton, U.S. Rep. Paul Tonko, D-Amsterdam, and Andrew Kennedy, president and CEO of the Albany-based Center for Economic Growth.
The CEG has launched what it calls the SolarGEN campaign targeting manufacturers who might benefit from adding a solar array. In Dimension Fabricators’ case, the solar array will have a payback period of six years, the time it takes for the energy saving to pay for the capital investment.
Stevens pointed out the panels are expected to last 20 years, although it’s not unusual for them to continue operating for 25 years. The company received assistance from NYSERDA covering 15 percent of the project, as well as a 30 percent federal tax credit.
Other support came from National Grid and CEG, with financing from the First National Bank of Scotia.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo has committed the state to producing half its power needs from renewable energy sources by 2030, and Tonko said that will have major benefits.
“Investing in a clean energy economy absolutely grows jobs,” he said.
Barton said the project at Dimension Fabricators will benefit the company’s bottom line as well as the environment.
In New York, “we’ve seen solar energy grow by 800 percent since 2011,” Barton said, adding that the industry has also created 8,000 jobs statewide.
Adding solar power “gives you a sense of budget certainty,” said David Rooney of the CEG. The cost will remain stable, likely giving a manufacturer a competitive advantage.
Peter Lion, program manager, energy & sustainability, for CEG, said five developers have been vetted to work with companies that seek to add solar generating capabilities, including entersolar, a New York City-based firm that installed the Dimension Fabricators array.
Lion said that such projects also “keep energy dollars in the community.”
The Dimension Fabricators array will cover up to 90 percent of its energy needs, said Stevens. It had been designed to meet 100 percent, but expansion at the plant added to energy usage.
“We’ve still got more roof, if we can find the money” for more panels, Stevens said.