Dan Hust | Democrat
Vince Cozzolino, CEO of The Solar Energy Consortium, speaks to Sullivan County Partnership for Economic Development members at an alternative energy forum Wednesday at Bernie’s in Rock Hill.
Solar is ‘next door’
By Dan Hust
ROCK HILL With a new satellite office in Bridgeville, representatives of The Solar Energy Consortium (TSEC) plan to bring affordable solar energy solutions to the people, particularly the local business community.
And their services, said CEO Vince Cozzolino and Board Chairman Carl Meyer, won’t cost users a dime.
That message was relayed Wednesday at a TSEC presentation in Rock Hill, set up by the Sullivan County Partnership for Economic Development, which has found a space for TSEC in its Bridgeville office complex.
This is no fly-by-night group, said Meyer, who is also president of Central Hudson Gas and Electric, one of the Hudson Valley’s major utility companies.
Indeed, Congressman Maurice Hinchey has ensured the two-year-old non-profit is the recipient of millions in federal earmarks, expanding TSEC’s focus from solar to geothermal, wind, and biomass.
“We’re fully funded by the U.S. Department of Energy,” explained Cozzolino.
Headquartered in Kingston, TSEC has branch offices in Hopewell Junction, Newburgh and Potsdam, and partnerships with Cornell University, SUNY Binghamton and New Paltz, RPI, CUNY and Clarkson University.
So why have they come to Sullivan County?
“Because,” quipped Meyer, “there’s a lot of energy in Sullivan County.”
That’s partly due to Callicoon Center resident Dick Riseling, who has become the foremost proponent of alternative energies in the county.
Riseling, who has used solar on his farm since 2004 and has since helped bring it to other local farms, learned of TSEC shortly after its creation and lobbied county officials to bring it here.
“They’ve invested in electric capital,” Riseling explained. “And that’s what we’ve got to do we’ve got to get jobs.”
Cozzolino told a crowd of about 40 area businesspeople Wednesday that TSEC has brought a solar-grade silicon manufacturing facility to Niagara Falls, a holographic film manufacturer (for solar cell coverings) to Ulster County, invested in existing energy companies, and will be helping build a solar farm at Stewart Airport in Newburgh.
“We focus most of our time on attracting investors,” said Cozzolino, a former vice president at IBM.
TSEC also serves as a conduit for businesses and residents seeking to jump into the alternative energy field, either as consumers or providers.
“There may be more [money] out there than you think,” said Cozzolino, “and we’d be happy to help.”
They’re already looking at attracting businesses to the proposed Green Tech Park at Sullivan County Community College, pointing out that this area actually sees more sunlight per year than Germany, where solar integration is farther ahead.
The fact that the local farming community has begun to adopt alternative energy solutions is notable to Meyer, who grew up on a farm himself.
“There’s a lot more interest in Sullivan County, a lot more than we see in other counties,” he acknowledged. “It’s a level of interest we think we can work with.”
For more information, contact the Partnership at 794-1110, or log on to thesolarec.org.