The fourth annual LUMA Projection Arts Festival will be help Sept. 7-9.
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Broome County expects its solar energy project to save $140,000 each year now that it is generating energy.
The largest solar project in Broome County was unveiled Wednesday morning after beginning to generate energy at the end of June. The county says it could save nearly $3 million over the next 20 years.
“Its great to have this up and running,” said Jason Garnar, county executive. “I really believe this is the future along with a lot of other energy sources this is what were moving into.”
Energy created by the solar panels become energy credits. Those are used by the county to use to reduce energy costs. Energy credits generated by the panels will go to four of the county’s largest energy users: the County Office Building, The Floyd Maines Veterans Arena, the Binghamton airport terminal and the Public Safety Facility.
The solar farm was built on county property in Conklin, consisting of two separate arrays. The size of the north and south arrays generate about 5.2 megawatts. The panels create energy that is measured in kilowatt-hours, with one kilowatt-hour is the amount of energy it takes to power a 100-watt lightbulb for 10 hours.
It’s expected to produce about 6.1 million kilowatt-hours of energy in its first year, enough electricity to power 567 homes, on annual average.
The county receives a credit from NYSEG for the energy collected by the solar grid. The county has a contract with Solar City, which built the project and owns and operates the array. The county pays Solar City to generate at a cost per kilowatt-hour.The amount of money the county saves is based on the difference in what it is getting from NYSEG and what it is paying to Solar City.
According to the Commissioner for Public Works, Leslie Boulton, the county looks at trends in electrical costs when they make these agreements to ensure that the amount the county is paying Solar City is lower than the amount the credit the county is getting from NYSEG, that is where the counties savings comes from on this project.
Not everyone is as excited about this project as the county is.
” A lie is being pushed upon the community about solar energy,” said Victor Furman, a natural gas proponent from Chenango Forks who was at the county’s solar farm unveiling. “I did an extensive study and FOILed for county records and contracts I got over 700 emails. In those emails they said they were selling it for five cents higher a kilowatt-hour then what they’re paying for it now.”
According to Furman the county had previously been telling people that it would be getting five cents more per kilowatt-hour of energy generated than it is now.
“Whether the contract changed or not I have no idea, but I think the public is being shammed here, I think the environment is being shammed, I have nothing against solar energy. If solar is as good as they say it is then why do they have to lie to people about it?”
According Furman over 1,000 mature trees were cut down to build the solar project.
The project was finished last year and did not come online until recently, once the county was able to negotiate contracts with NYSEG and Solar City.
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