OSWEGO – Shortly after noon on April 18, with the sun near its peak for the day, electricians from Solar Liberty Energy Systems of Buffalo, threw a small switch in the back corner of a mechanical room at the Oswego County Health Complex in Oswego.
Power harnessed from the sun then began to off-set the county’s electrical needs in that building.
This solar project, which will provide about eight percent of the average electrical usage at the site, began just over two years ago when Blue Springs Energy of Webster, assisted Oswego County with several grants to increase the energy efficiency at many of its facilities.
The funding for these projects came through the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) who is administrating funds made available from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act through the U.S. Department of Energy.
Approximately 80 percent of the solar project was funded through these sources and the county expects to recoup its local investment in a little over six years.
“We are excited about this new addition to our energy conservation program here in Oswego County,” said Oswego County Legislature Chairman Fred C. Beardsley. “In addition, we are eagerly exploring new solar opportunities at several of our other facilities.”
Legislator James Oldenburg, chairman of the Oswego County Legislature’s Infrastructure and Facilities Committee said, “It’s great to be pursuing initiatives that positively impact the environment, especially when they make good sense for our buildings and county taxpayers.”
The photovoltaic system installed at the Oswego County Health Complex is designed to produce about 28.2 kW and is guaranteed by the manufacturer for a period of 25 years. It is just one of the many energy conservation and efficiency measures that have been instituted by Oswego County’s “Green Team.”
Formed in 2009 under the leadership of former Legislature Chairman Barry D. Leemann, the “Green Team” has explored or implemented a wide range of projects aimed at reducing the county’s carbon footprint.
Projects include the use of bio-diesel in county highway vehicles, supplies made from recycled materials, “green” cleaning products, lighting retro-fits and replacements, HVAC controls and systems upgrades, enhanced recycling programs and expanded opportunities for the collection and disposal of household hazardous wastes.
Chairman Beardsley added, “While we still have many opportunities before us, our efforts so far have helped to avoid the generation of more than 1200 tons of greenhouse gasses on an annual basis and, when completed, are expected to reduce county energy bills by well over $100,000 a year.”
For more information on the county’s energy efficiency efforts or to learn how you can benefit from similar initiatives visit www.renewoswego.org