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Alternative Energy Takes Center Stage

In a meeting broadcast at JCC on Thursday, Gay Canough, president of ETM Solar Works, said Chautauqua County could sell electricity to its neighbors after a relatively cheap investment of $20,000 in solar panels and wind turbines.

Some Southern Tier residents may be surprised to find they can turn the tables and actually sell electricity to the power companies.

It wouldn’t take much — just a few solar panels and wind turbines and an investment of $20,000 or so.

That was the lesson Thursday as the image and voice of Gay Canough, president of both ETM Solar Works in Endicott, N.Y. and the New York Solar Energy Industries Association, was transmitted to colleges all across the state including Jamestown Community College.

‘‘We hope humans can be at least as smart as trees and shrubs,’’ Ms. Canough said while trumping the benefits and financial incentives of living off the grid.

It was the third statewide meeting hosted by the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority and Cornell University’s Cooperative Extension program.

Ms. Canough explained that living off the grid can be both a profitable and ecological venture. Solar panels big enough to power a home can cost as much as $45,000, but discounts and state incentives cover more than half of that.

There are both state and federal tax credits offered to energy-conscious consumers, as well as the System Benefits Charge — a small fee added to each monthly electricity bill that funds... more [truncated due to possible copyright]  

Some Southern Tier residents may be surprised to find they can turn the tables and actually sell electricity to the power companies.
 
It wouldn’t take much — just a few solar panels and wind turbines and an investment of $20,000 or so.
 
That was the lesson Thursday as the image and voice of Gay Canough, president of both ETM Solar Works in Endicott, N.Y. and the New York Solar Energy Industries Association, was transmitted to colleges all across the state including Jamestown Community College.
 
‘‘We hope humans can be at least as smart as trees and shrubs,’’ Ms. Canough said while trumping the benefits and financial incentives of living off the grid.
 
It was the third statewide meeting hosted by the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority and Cornell University’s Cooperative Extension program.
 
Ms. Canough explained that living off the grid can be both a profitable and ecological venture. Solar panels big enough to power a home can cost as much as $45,000, but discounts and state incentives cover more than half of that.
 
There are both state and federal tax credits offered to energy-conscious consumers, as well as the System Benefits Charge — a small fee added to each monthly electricity bill that funds programs such as the energy meetings and a $4-per-watt discount on solar purchases.
 
‘‘That’s right off the up-front cost,’’ Ms. Canough said, adding it would cut nearly $20,000 off that $45,000 price tag.
 
The System Benefits Charge is paid by customers of National Grid, though, and not the Jamestown Board of Public Utilities. That means BPU customers wouldn’t be eligible for that funding.
 
Once the discounts and the tax credits have been factored in, all that remains is a cost of less than $20,000 for the consumer, and for that the state offers low-interest loans up to $20,000.
 
‘‘It’s comparable to buying a new car,’’ Ms. Canough said.
 
A wind turbine is the same sort of investment, she said — but producing electricity this way not only allows customers to bring their electric bills down to zero but sell extra energy to the power companies as well.
 
‘‘Some of the utility companies, if you ask them, they will write you a check (at the end of the year),’’ Ms. Canough said.
 
During the presentation, Ms. Canough showed satellite photos of cities such as Syracuse, noting the amount of wasted roof space. She encouraged all participants when driving past a Home Depot or a Wal-Mart to think about the one-megawatt solar panel that would fit on the roof.
 
‘‘Bigger is what we really have to do,’’ she said.
 
ETM Solar Works is a company that handles solar panel installation.
 
Send comments to pfanelli@post-journal.com


Source: http://post-journal.com/art...

MAY 19 2006
https://www.windaction.org/posts/2693-alternative-energy-takes-center-stage
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