2015 will bring exciting new solar and energy efficiency opportunities to Dutchess County including a potential 2 megawatt photovoltaic (PV) solar panel array at the Dutchess County Airport; SolarizeDutchess, a new program to make solar opportunities more accessible to residents; and the Energize NY Finance program, an opportunity for local businesses to make the investment in energy efficiency upgrades. These initiatives will be part of Dutchess County Executive Marcus J. Molinaro’s upcoming 2015 State of the County Address which will be held on Wednesday, February 25th at the Culinary Institute of America at 5pm.
County Executive Molinaro explains, “This is an exciting time for Dutchess County. These opportunities reduce our energy footprint, deliver savings to our county taxpayers and provide tools for residents and businesses to embrace solar and other energy efficiencies at a more accessible cost.”
Solar Array at Dutchess County Airport
The Dutchess County Department of Public Works is partnering with Solar City to bring a 2 megawatt photovoltaic (PV) solar panel array to the Dutchess County Airport in the Town of Wappinger with no upfront county investment required, thanks to a NY-Sun award from the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA). Sunlight captured in a solar array is converted to electricity and fed back into the power grid. The Airport solar array is expected to produce over 2.9 million kilowatt hours of clean electricity in the first year alone. Through New York’s Net Metering Policy – which allows customers to apply solar energy credits to other accounts they own – Dutchess County Government will use the solar energy generated at the County Airport to offset energy use at other county facilities, providing energy savings of up to $3 million over a twenty year period. Following successful environmental analysis and study relating to glare, traffic impact and other issues, construction on the solar array could begin as soon as summer 2015.
Dutchess County Government will help make it easier and more affordable for county residents to take advantage of solar opportunities as well. The Department of Planning and Development will partner with Sustainable Hudson Valley, a regional program awarded funding through the Consolidated Funding Application (CFA) process, to leverage technical assistance and resources from NYSERDA and the NY-SUN PV Trainer’s Network. SolarizeDutchess will be part of the SolarizeMidHudson program and have access to economic incentives available via grants and limited-time, volume purchase pricing, streamline the contractor process for customers and provide education via “Solar Ambassadors” – individuals who already have solar on their homes and businesses who volunteer to answer questions and offer objective perspectives about “going solar.” Additionally, the Dutchess County Planning Federation is working on training courses for planning and zoning boards regarding solar energy to make it easier than ever for communities to embrace solar opportunities.
Energize New York Finance Program
County Executive Molinaro has forwarded a resolution to the Dutchess County Legislature establishing a local law to implement Energize NY Finance program. EnergizeNY can bring low interest rates, long repayment terms, and automatic transferability to commercial property owners interested in energy improvements. Lower energy expenses for local businesses mean more dollars into the local economy and reduced greenhouse gas emissions.
Projects eligible for financing include solar PV (electric) arrays, high-efficiency lighting, upgrades to HVAC systems, air sealing, and insulation to reduce electricity and primary fuel load through an existing New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) or utility program. Energize NY financing is based upon a building’s ability to reduce energy costs and carry the resulting tax charge. Such loans feature low interest rates and long repayment terms (up to 20 years). The program aligns with County goals of job creation, lower emissions & pollution, improved building stock and reduction of energy imports keeping money in the community. The goal is to drive greater economic competitiveness that attracts new employers and new property owners and produces more local jobs. Dutchess County is able to access Energize NY and its resources by becoming a member of the Energy Improvement Corporation, a New York State Local Development Corporation (LDC) formed to take advantage of a 2010 state law enabling long-term, low-cost energy efficiency and renewable energy project financing through an innovative mechanism called Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE).
Join County Executive Molinaro on Wednesday, February 25th at 5pm in The Culinary Institute of America’s Marriott Pavilion to learn about these programs and other County initiatives as part of the 2015 State of the County Address. The event is open to the public and all are welcome. Please RSVP online at www.dutchessny.gov/RSVP.