Ithaca/Tompkins County

Commercial Energy Now III

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4 With more installed solar capacity than six neighboring counties combined, Tomp- kins County plays a significant role in New York's energy objectives. A contributing factor to the increase in solar capacity is the diversity of organizations switching to solar. From nonprofits to bakeries, businesses in Tompkins County are spearhead- ing the transition to solar energy. Unlike some businesses that are only recently getting their feet wet in renewable energy, Ed Cope of PPM Homes first installed solar panels over ten years ago. Until the advent of remote net metering, however, it was impractical for real es- tate developers to install solar panels on their properties, many of which could be apartment complexes. But thanks to recent changes in regulations, PPM Homes' new 210 kW remote solar farm is meeting the energy needs of 63 property units. A combination of NYSERDA's fixed incentive credit, the 30 percent federal tax credit for renewable energy upgrades, and federal accelerated tax depreciation brought the cost of the project to $185,975—a 65 percent reduction. Cope financed the project with a 15-year loan and, in addition to no up- front costs, and even though, as with most projects of this kind, he will continue to pay NYSEG delivery fees, he will save an aggregate of 28 percent for all of his units combined. Similar to PPM Homes, Greenstar Cooperative Market bought into a large solar farm earlier this year. It is notable for being one of the largest arrays owned and operated by a grocery cooperative. e solar panels are expected to meet over half of Greenstar's energy needs. Greenstar also took advantage of the generous state and federal incentives, using a NYSERDA grant, federal tax credits, and accelerated tax depreciation to reduce the project's cost from $320,866 to $113,259. e grocery cooperative is involving customers in the project by displaying the solar array's energy production on its website. e interactive live feed shows how much ener- gy the solar panels are producing, how much money they are saving, and how much carbon dioxide they are helping to eliminate. e Ulysses Philomathic Library, a nonprofit in Trumansburg, used a NYSERDA grant and rebate, a State Aid for Library Construction grant, and community support to finance its new solar installation. rough a creative fundraising campaign they are just $12k away from matching the $55k awarded to them in grant funding. e board members were primarily interested in eliminating fossil fuels and replacing 100 percent of the building's energy usage, so when the grant funding was approved, it was easy for everyone to support the project. ey expect the roof-mounted solar array to meet all of the library's energy needs and save them $4,500 in the first year. (continued on page 7) Tompkins County Goes Solar By Kristina Wagner, Energy Corps Intern, Cornell Cooperative Extension of Tompkins County Photo credit PPM Homes, Greenstar Cooperative Market, and Ulysses Philomathic Library

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