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Solar Garden Freely Spills Power into Amsterdam, NY

By N. R. Mallery

On November 30, 2015, the largest solar project to date for the city of Amsterdam, NY started to save the city government one-third of their power costs.

An aerial view of the 2,000 panel solar garden that was built on a decommissioned reservoir in Amsterdam, NY, the panel frames during installation and the undersides of panels where the inverters are located. Photos courtesy of John Hodgens.

An aerial view of the 2,000 panel solar garden that was built on a decommissioned reservoir in Amsterdam, NY, the panel frames during installation and the undersides of panels where the inverters are located. Photos courtesy of John Hodgens.

The project was built on a decommissioned reservoir. It is expected to generate enough electricity to power the city’s water treatment plant, wastewater treatment plant and the pump station.

The solar garden was built through a power purchase agreement, so the city did not spend any money. “Monolith Solar paid to build the array, with the city agreeing in return to buy power from it for 20 years, at about 30% below prevailing energy rates,” said Monolith Solar account manager Tim Carr. “The city expects to save $40,000 in the first year and $1.3 million over 20 years. After that, the city can buy the system, extend the agreement in five-year intervals or end the deal and have Monolith Solar dismantle the array,” he said.

“It’s good news for Amsterdam, because we’re repurposing the property, and the residents will benefit because it’s new revenue to the city,” Mayor Ann Thane told a local newspaper.

Amsterdam already has smaller, rooftop arrays on a bus garage and public safety building. With the new project, Amsterdam’s municipal buildings will get about one-third of their power from solar energy, according to state Assemblyman Angelo Santabarbara’s office. State incentives for solar installations were used.

Amsterdam is a city of 18,000 people located at the foothills of the Adirondack State Park, and situated about 35 miles from New York’s capital city, Albany. Set on the Mohawk River, Amsterdam was once one of the nation’s leading carpet and rug manufacturing centers. It’s also the hometown of actor Kirk Douglas and has a park named in his honor.

Monolith Solar Associates is located in Rensselaer, NY. Learn more at www.MonolithSolar.com.

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