On October 12, the Niagara Frontier Transportation Authority (NFTA) made a significant step towards reducing the size of the carbon footprint left by public transportation in Buffalo.
Richard M. Kessel, President and Chief Executive Officer of the New York Power Authority (NYPA), and NFTA Chairman Henry M. Sloma, joined by several public officials and environmental representatives, announced the completed installation of a large roof-mounted solar array which will provide the Military Road bus garage with a clean source of renewable energy for its operations.
The 250-kilowatt system, which consists of some 1,100 solar panels, will contribute about 16 percent of the garage’s electricity. According to Sloma, this will lower the garage’s dependency on non-renewable fuel sources and will thus help create a greener environment. The system is anticipated to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 150 tons a year.
Not only will the photovoltaic system help protect the environment, but it will also help save money. The installation is expected to generate approximately 289,000 kilowatt-hours of electricity per year at the garage, which will generate an average savings of about $45,000 annually.
The project is also contributing to the expansion of Buffalo’s green economy. Local companies provided the labor, services and products to install the system. Solar Liberty of Williamsville was the main contractor, providing general management of the project and mechanical and electrical engineering. Allegro Power provided electrical services. Capital Fence of Amherst was also involved. The project also gave jobs to local welders, who were hired at the Buffalo production plant that produced the racking system for the panels. A local distributor also provided the steel for the structure.
“This project represents new growth for Western New York and the local green economy,” said Adam Rizzo, president of Solar Liberty. “Solar energy is growing in New York. This is one of the largest operating solar installations in the State. The green economy is expanding in Buffalo and our company has more than doubled in size since this time last year. Through the NFTA’s transportation services, clean renewable energy is touching more of us every day.”
The plans for the installation came from a $21 million renewable energy program created by the NYPA last year. Their goal is to increase solar sources and other clean energy technologies in Western and Upstate New York. In addition to the NFTA project, they will also be working with the University at Buffalo to install what is expected to be the largest solar installation at any college or university in the state of New York. This project, like the NFTA installation, will help create job opportunities in the region by utilizing local services and manpower.
Photo courtesy Solar Liberty