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Sullivan solar ribbon cutting; sun power for human services buildings

By Fritz Mayer
October 17, 2012

Elected officials, solar experts and members of Sullivan Alliance for Sustainable Development (SASD) turned out to the Robert Travis Building in Liberty on October 16 for a ribbon-cutting ceremony for a new solar array at the site.

It’s a 49.9 kW system, with 208 solar panels. Randall Kelsey, the general manager of Kirchhoff Green Energy, the company that installed the array, said it’s difficult to say exactly what portion of the building’s energy needs the system will supply because the building is metered together with two other buildings in the human services complex, but he said such a system typically would supply about half of the electricity needed by a building the size of the Travis. The system is expected to generate 60,200 kWh a year, the equivalent of saving 4,800 gallons of gasoline or offsetting 45 tons of carbon dioxide.

The array was entirely paid for by a grant from NYS Research and Development Authority and money from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, also known as stimulus funding. The grant process was handled by SASD.

“This is a great day for Sullivan County as we embrace our county’s new solar electric installation. This smart investment demonstrates our commitment to in-county, responsible energy generation while reducing cost to our taxpayers. The Sullivan County Legislature applauds the efforts to move renewable energy initiatives forward,” said Cindy Kurpil Gieger, Sullivan County Legislator and chair of the Agriculture and Sustainability Committee.

The solar installation is part of the overall effort of county officials to make municipal buildings and vehicles more energy efficient. The county signed the Climate Smart Communities Pledge in 2010, officially making energy efficiency a county goal.