It seems that nowadays everyone wants to become greener. When installing a solar energy system some people are concerned about the environment but most of them are only thinking about their electricity bills.
Same thing happened at Bellevue (N.Y) Fire District No. 9, where they installed 140 solar panels, 200 watts each, in order to offset up to 14% of their electrical consumption.
Founded by the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority, the $137,000 solar electric system will produce more than 23 kilowatts of electricity.
Providing emergency medical services and fire protection on a 7 square miles area involves high costs,so installing a solar powered system will save the fire station nearly $200k.
Even so, Nathan Rizzo, the company’s vice president, said that they chose to keep the building connected to the utility grid because of a very good reason. Being located in western New York, Fire District No. 9’s fire station is often hit by harsh winters. In these seasons the intensity of light is lower, so their new solar panels wouldn’t be enough to power the entire building.
Rizzo also said that the silicon-cell modules may degrade over time, having a half life of up to 50 years. For any possible damages, though, the installing company offers a 25-year warranty. “Even if just take the warranty – 25 years – the departmen’s utility system lifetime savings taking into account inflation would be $191,000… That equals 17.4% annual rate of return on investment”, Rizzo said.