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- Town's Solar Array at Department of Public Works: Performance Snapshot

A message from Supervisor LaFountain: 

The Town’s solar array at the Department of Public Works complex on Jackson Road has been fully operational since May 2019—pushing energy to the grid, earning energy credits, and reducing the Town of Penfield’s electric bill. Now that we have six full months of performance behind us, I would like to provide a snapshot of our experience to date.  

The solar array consists of 3,648 solar modules driving 38 inverters. The system is expected to generate 1.2 million kilowatt hours of renewable energy annually. From May to October it produced and delivered 767,837 kWh of electricity to the RG&E grid. 

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Solar Panels at Department of Public Works Complex

In 2017 and 2018, the Town’s electric bills for all its facilities for the period May 1 to October 31 were approximately $124,600 and $123,200 respectively. I am pleased to share that our bill for the same period in 2019 was $84,200, a reduction of roughly $40,000. Based on this performance, we conservatively project a savings of $90,000 for the Town’s electric bill for 2020. Solar arrays reliably produce energy on cloudy days—and the panels perform most efficiently in cold weather—so we are confident the array will continue to deliver electricity to RG&E’s grid throughout the winter. 

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Department of Public Works complex before and after installation

On October 23, the Energy & Environmental Advisory Committee visited the solar array for a tour and update from Facilities Director and project manager, Jim Kreckman. He gave us an overview of the array’s technology and performance. A big takeaway for the EEAC was a practical context Jim described when he told us the electricity the array had already produced and delivered to RG&E’s grid was equivalent to the Penfield Community Center’s (PCC) monthly electric bill. Essentially, our electricity production had already offset electricity used by the facility that houses the Penfield Library, Penfield Recreation, and Town Courts—all of which operate day and night, creating high peak demand costs. Jim was especially happy to point out that our energy credits even offset those peak demand fees, an achievement that Jim called “a beautiful thing."

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Jim Kreckman of the Town of Penfield speaking with Energy and Environmental Advisory Committee members at Department of Public Works complex

I will provide another snapshot around our one-year anniversary date when we will have a full year’s worth of data to share. 

For those not familiar with this project, the solar array was installed in keeping with the Town’s goal of achieving long-term energy cost reductions and price predictability using clean, sustainable energy for the benefit of the environment and Penfield residents. The energy produced by this array is directly connected to RG&E’s utility grid and is expected to offset approximately nearly three-quarters of the Town of Penfield’s overall electrical usage at its main facilities (town hall, community center, DPW). This production is the equivalent of powering 120 households for one year. 

To learn more about the solar array please read this press release from April 3, 2019 for more details. 

http://www.penfield.org/docmanager/PR2019-04-03%20Solar%20array%20at%20DPW%20online.pdf




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