Why this manufacturer is installing solar panels to reduce costs
Albany Business Review
By: Chelsea Diana
Scott Stevens, president of Dimension Fabricators, spent $1.92 million to install about 100,000 square feet of solar panels across the roof of his factory in Glenville, New York.
The price tag will go down to about $1.45 million with federal tax credits for solar, and some grant money from New York State Energy Research and Development Authority.
Stevens estimates it will take six years to pay back the loan the company received for the project from First National Bank of Scotia. Once that’s paid, Dimension Fabricators will pay almost nothing to power the factory.
“We wouldn’t buy too many other things that might have a six-year payback, but the difference is these panels are guaranteed for 20 years, and will likely go 25 years,” Stevens said.
“It’s helpful that things make fiscal sense. It’s also the right thing to do,” Stevens said. “It’s a way to eliminate the consumption of oil coal, natural gas and a little bit that comes from hydro and nuclear. The sun is there every day.”
It inspired Andrew Kennedy, CEO of the Center for Economic Growth, to develop a program that makes it easier for manufacturers to install solar panels.
The program, called SolarGen, connects manufacturers and other businesses with vetted solar developers to make the process easier and cheaper. The program is funded through NYSERDA.
Kennedy said CEG started talking with businesses interested in the program earlier this month. Other companies that have recently installed solar panels include Stewart’s Shops Corp. and Blasch Precision Ceramics in Albany.
The program is partly driven by Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s pledge to meet the Clean Energy Standard, which requires 50 percent of New York’s electricity to come from renewable energy sources like wind and solar by 2030.
“Businesses are looking to find ways to continue to be competitive and innovative,” Kennedy said. “It has less to do with politics and more to do with seeing this as a technology that has been developed and refined over time. Companies are going in and seeing the value of that because they can drive savings to their operations.”