Firefighters at New York’s Bellevue Fire District No. 9 station are looking forward to a bright future in solar energy as they recently unveiled a large photovoltaic installation. Funded by the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority, the station’s new solar array is composed of 140 panels rated at 200 watts each. It is hoped that the installation will be able to offset up to 14 percent of the station’s energy consumption by producing more than 23 kilowatts of electricity.
The Bellevue Fire Station provides fire protection and emergency medical services in the town of Cheektowaga, N.Y., covering about 7 square miles and responding to approximately 500 calls annually. As such, the station has high power costs and it is hoped that solar panels installed could save up to $200,000.
The station will still be connected to the utility grid however, due to the fact the station is situated in a region of the state that is often subjected to harsh winters. As such, the system’s production is based on a bell curve, where the most energy is produced during the summer months with levels dying off towards the end of the year.
Speaking about the new installation, Solar Liberty Vice President Nathan Rizzo said that the system could last up to 40 to 50 years. The station is already considered to be a green building, although Rizzo estimated that the entire building’s carbon footprint could be reduced by 501 tons of CO2 during the next 25 years of solar electricity production. Now if they could only get solar-powered fire trucks, they could reduce that figure even further.