City looks to solar projects to save on energy costs


City Engineer Richard Miller presented power purchase agreements from two different solar energy companies that could generate over $13 million in savings for the City of Amsterdam over the course of the 20-25 year program, with over $191,846 in savings in just the first year. The deals are part of a New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) program.

The two companies, Monolith Solar and Borrego Solar, would build and maintain the solar energy plants at no cost to the city. The plants would be connected to National Grid, but the city would get credit on it’s electricity bills based on the amount of power generated. The actual amount of the credit will depend on the going market rates for electricity. But the agreement with Monolith contains a warranty of at least a 10% savings floor to the city over a the 20 year term and the agreement from Borrego includes a fixed rate for energy purchase over the 25 year term of that agreement.

“I don’t see any way to lose on the whole situation,” said Miller.

Currently, the city already has an agreement with Monolith who previously installed solar panels at city’s bus garage next to the Department of Public Works and on the public safety building which have already contributed to cost savings on the city’s energy bill. Monolith’s plan was to install additional panels at City Hall and at other city locations, but now wants to build a bigger array at the old reservoir area near Brookside Aveneue instead. Borrego’s plant would be located on farmland in the Town of Florida.

After the presentation, Miller showed reporters a website through which he could monitor the power output of the current solar panels at the public safety building and at the bus garage versus the power used by those buildings. He said that the output of the solar panels at the garage more than offset the building’s power usage resulting in a net gain for the city.

The Common Council previously approved funds to hire an outside attorney with experience with these types of agreements to review the deal with Borrego. The Common Council will vote on the measure at a special meeting scheduled for 12:00pm this coming Friday.

(Photo by Tim Becker)

Tim Becker

Tim Becker is the owner of Anthem Websites Inc. which publishes The Compass. He serves as both editor and a writer.