Going Green: Photovoltaic panels
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The Binghamton City Water System covers a lot of territory.
“Our water system serves more than 44,000 people through 14,200 service connections and wholesales to parts of the towns of Binghamton, Dickinson, and Vestal. In the last year alone we pumped more than 2.2 billion gallons of water,” said Mayor Matt Ryan, Binghamton.
Energy to provide that service is expensive but Binghamton used a federal grant to install an 18-panel array of photovoltaic panels.
“By moving from fossil fuel to the use of solar power we will save Binghamton taxpayers up to $560,000 over the lifetime of the system,” said Ryan.
The new panels will supply 12 percent of the power needed to operate the water treatment plant while eliminating 23 tons of carbon dioxide production.
The solar array was funded by a federal grant, one of several to cities around New York to boost water quality projects that use renewable energy resources and green infrastructure.
“In addition to the cost savings, the system will eliminate more than 23 tons of carbon dioxide production annually. When it comes to the effectiveness of this technology you don't have to take my word for it, the manufacturers website will track the panels' energy production, cost savings and the carbon dioxide reductions,” said Ryan.
Industry officials are optimistic that more municipalities are going to go this route because the cost is decreasing.
“And in the last several years the price of solar has come down nearly 50 percent. In the last 20 years it's come down 90 percent. Over the next few years and within this decade solar is going to be the cheapest power in the world,” said Ron Kamen, EarthKind Solar.