Weekly Feature

2017-07-12 / Editorial

Energy savings efforts are a testament to town

Bee Editorial

Too often, it seems that negative news captures our attention more than positive occurrences. While some residents may be overly critical in their opinions of town government, energy savings is one subject in which we believe Amherst is a leader among area communities.

In May, the town initiated Solarize Amherst, a community campaign to make solar conversion efforts less expensive and easier for residents and businesses to attain.

The campaign was started through the efforts of the Energy Conservation Citizens Advisory Committee, as well as the Clean Energy Communities Committee, which was created by the Town Board in March as a way to participate in the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority’s Clean Energy Communities Program. Within the program, NYSERDA identified 10 high-impact actions that local communities can do to contribute to statewide energy goals.

For Solarize Amherst, which is one of the high-impact actions, the town vetted three local companies that will install the solar equipment. Material and installation costs have been reduced by the participating companies, which are Solar by CIR, Solar Liberty and Frey Electric.

Other Solarize Amherst details include:

• Free solar evaluations from the installers, including a roof evaluation, preliminary site design, energy-usage profile and financial analysis.

• Town officials will waive electrical permit fees, which could total an additional $200 in savings. Recently, the town was deemed eligible by NYSERDA to receive a $250,000 grant because of its energy-saving initiatives and meeting four of the 10 high-impact actions.

We believe the community’s efforts — especially given that it created a committee, submitted all necessary documents to NYSERDA and initiated Solarize Amherst within four months — are a prime example of volunteers and government officials cooperating at the highest efficiency.

We are looking forward to the next steps in energy savings, as NYSERDA’s grant funding has been earmarked for the installation of solar panels on town properties. The town has three months to submit project proposals in order to receive the funding.

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