October 17, 2012

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Sullivan takes giant leap into green energy

TOWN OF LIBERTY – A $210,000 array of solar panels sits outside the Robert Travis Building in the Sullivan County Department of Social Services Complex near Liberty. The county paid nothing for it, but hopes to get a lot in return for that ‘investment’.

Sullivan Alliance for Sustainable Development Executive Director Dick Riseling wrote the grant that paid for the installation. 

“What could be better than working with nature and with health and have those as drivers for the economic development that the county needs.  We think this would be a wonderful complex for us to have a great experimental study model,” he said.

Riseling said this is the beginning of turning Sullivan County into a marvelous experiment in sustainability.

County Legislator Cindy Kurpil Gieger said with other green energy enhancements at the social services campus outside Liberty, the goal is eventually to make the entire campus a “net zero energy district."  She called it a “win-win situation for everybody.”

Gieger has some personal experience with solar energy.

“A solar powered dairy farm, 25 kilowatt system, and it has lowered my energy costs from $1,200 a billing, which is every six weeks, to about $200,” Gieger said.

Tom Thompson, business development manager for Advanced Solar Products, oversaw the design and installation of the array.  Thompson said their target is to reduce energy costs by 25 to 50 percent.

From left, county legislators Kitty Veter, Cindy Kurpil Gieger, Cora Edwards and Assemblywoman Aileen Gunther


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