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Lake George leaders eye 20-year solar power contract

Stan Dobert of Apex Solar Power of Queensbury explains to Lake George Town Board members March 10 the conditions and consequences involved in a pending 20-year agreement to provide solar power for both the village and town of Lake George. The proposed arrangement is estimated to cut the village’s electricity costs by $37,000 annually in the first year of the contract and the town’s electricity costs over the initial year by $20,000. The savings are predicted to increase in the following years.

Stan Dobert of Apex Solar Power of Queensbury explains to Lake George Town Board members March 10 the conditions and consequences involved in a pending 20-year agreement to provide solar power for both the village and town of Lake George. The proposed arrangement is estimated to cut the village’s electricity costs by $37,000 annually in the first year of the contract and the town’s electricity costs over the initial year by $20,000. The savings are predicted to increase in the following years. Photo by Thom Randall.

— With an intent of boosting the environment while saving taxpayers thousands of dollars, the town and village of Lake George are now taking collaborative steps towards converting to solar energy.

The two municipalities are poised to sign 20-year contracts that call for an array of solar panels to be constructed by a solar engineering firm and bankrolled by private investors on behlaf of the village. These panels are to supply the amount of electricity to the state’s power grid that offsets the aggregate amount the town and village normally use.

The town and village taxpayers won’t be bearing the up-front construction costs of the solar arrays, but they will instead be benefiting financially from the installation, according to a presentation Monday March 10 to town board members by Stan Dobert of Apex Solar Power Corp. based in Queensbury.

The town and village are to be paying less to this joint enterprise for electricity, month-by-month than they would routinely pay to the local utility provider National Grid, Dobert said.

The savings to the town is accomplished through the private investors reaping generous tax credits of up to 30 percent and other incentives offered by the state and government, according to Mike Doud of Overseas Lease Group, which is collaborating with Apex on the proposed project.

Dobert and town board member Marisa Muratori both said the joint enterprise needed an initial agreement signed by April 1 by the board — a memo of understanding outlining contract terms and barring the town from seeking competitive bids on the project — in order to obtain maximum tax credits and to reap the most savings.

After hearing the presentation from Dobert and Doud, the town board voted unanimously to authorize town supervisor Dennis Dickinson to sign the initial agreement before April 1, subject to approval of the town attorney. Dobert said the preliminary agreement didn’t fully commit the town to executing the solar-power contract, but it set the stage for the pending deal while locking in maximum utility savings and tax credits.

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