Weekly Feature

2017-07-12 / Front Page

Energy initiatives make town eligible for state grant

by KEATON T. DEPRIEST Associate Editor

The Town of Amherst was recently deemed eligible by a state agency to receive a $250,000 grant due to energy-saving initiatives.

Created earlier this year, the town’s Clean Energy Communities Committee was charged with overseeing the completion of four high-impact actions that will allow the town to receive the funds.

Town officials, including Supervisor Barry Weinstein; Council Member Ramona Popowich, the committee’s Town Board liaison; and Mike Delamere, town energy manager, worked with the committee to prove Amherst’s contribution to statewide energy goals to the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority.

Of a list of 10 high-impact actions, NYSERDA requests that communities complete at least four of the actions.

One of the actions, Weinstein and Popowich said, was satisfied through the Solarize Amherst campaign, initiated in the spring through the efforts of the Energy Conservation Citizens Advisory Committee, as well as the CECC.

As part of the program, Solarize Amherst has 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.

Weinstein said the town met its goal of signing up at least 10 property owners who are seeking to convert to solar energy.

In addition to Solarize Amherst, the three other high-impact actions the town submitted to NYSERDA included unified solar permits, clean fleets and energy code training.

The town’s recent purchase of an electric vehicle also satisfied one of the four requirements.

Popowich said the town’s eligibility in the program is a testament to the cooperative work of the CECC.

“They’ve been a good team, and they’ve worked diligently,” Popowich said.

The supervisor also credited Popowich in her role of assisting to secure eligibility in the program.

“Ramona and I complement each other very well,” Weinstein said.

Weinstein said due to a decision by the committee, the grant funding has been earmarked for the installation of solar panels on town properties. He said the town has three months to submit project proposals in order to receive the funding.

“We envision these solar panels will reduce the town’s energy use,” the supervisor added.

Further information about Solarize Amherst is available at www.SolarizeAmherst.org.

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