Eli Ruiz | Democrat
Taking part in the ribbon cutting for the new solar panel at the county’s Social Services Complex were, front row, from the left: Carol Roig of Sullivan Alliance for Sustainable Development, Legislator Cindy Kurpil-Gieger, Assemblywoman Aileen Gunther and Legislator Cora Edwards. Back row: Family and Health Services Commissioner Randy Parker, Tom Thompson of design firm Gridwierks, Michael Chojnicki of Sullivan County Sustainable Development, Randal Kelsey of Kirchoff Green Energy and Legislator Kitty Vetter.
The solar energy future ‘is now’
Story by Eli Ruiz
LIBERTY On Tuesday Sullivan County’s largest municipal solar array was officially brought online at a ribbon cutting ceremony behind the Robert Travis building of the Social Services Complex in Liberty.
The 49.8 kilowatt solar installation was financed at no cost to taxpayers by a $235,000 grant secured by Richard Riseling and the Sullivan Alliance for Sustainable Development under a consultative contract with the Sullivan County Government.
The New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) along with the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act funded the grant.
Sullivan County Legislator Cindy Kurpil-Gieger handled the ribbon cutting honors and said of the initiative, “It’s really a win-win situation for everybody. This renewable energy project, I am proud to say, has the full support of all of my colleagues on the Sullivan County Legislature.”
Also in attendance from the County Legislature were Kathleen “Kitty” Vetter and Cora Edwards.
Gieger thanked her colleagues and all responsible for the project’s funding especially, as Gieger called her, “the number-one person,” Assemblywoman Aileen Gunther, who was also present for the ceremony.
The solar array installed by Kirchoff Green Energy of Pleasant Valley will provide a portion of the energy consumed by the Robert Travis and Community Service buildings and is expected to generate 60,200 kilowatt-hours annually, with the potential to save the county more than $200,000 in electric bills in its lifetime. The annual energy savings is equivalent to saving 4,800 gallons of fuel or offsetting 45 tons of carbon.
“We look forward to the development of the proposed energy district that proposes to make the entire Social Services Complex a net-zero district,” added Gieger. “There is a whole wave of economic development that can occur from renewable energy.”
The county has indeed; through the use of alternative sources, the complex is looking to be able to produce 100 percent of its own energy in the near future.
An enthusiastic Edwards said, “This shows that the mainstreaming of solar as a viable alternative energy source is taking off… The future is now.”