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Source: Business First of Buffalo

NFTA completes Tonawanda solar project

BY DAVID BERTOLA

Posted: October 13, 2010
Originally Published: October 13, 2010

Community and business leaders celebrated the electrification of a new solar project at the Niagara Frontier Transportation Authority bus garage on Military Road in Tonawanda.

The project is designed to provide clean, renewable energy and support the transit agency's efforts to reduce its carbon footprint and protect the environment.

Among those joining New York Power Authority President and Chief Executive Officer Richard Kessel and NFTA Chairman Henry Sloma at the Tuesday ceremony were Assemblywoman Francine DelMonte, Niagara Falls Mayor Paul Dyster and Brian Smith of Citizens Campaign for the Environment.

Some 1,100 solar panels will provide on-site generation for the facility, and will help lower greenhouse-gas emissions by 150 tons a year.

A 250-kilowatt roof-mounted photovoltaic system installation will provide approximately 16 percent of the electricity required by the Frontier Garage, one of three the NFTA operates. It is expected to generate approximately 289,000 kilowatt-hours of electricity a year for the bus garage. That amount would save the average commercial customer about $45,500 annually.

The project installation involved at least three companies from the region: Solar Liberty of Williamsville, the main contractor that provided such services as project management and mechanical and electrical engineering; Allegro Power, a local woman-owned business that provided electrical services; and Capital Fence, an Amherst company. In addition, local welders were hired at the Buffalo production plant where the racking system for the solar panels was constructed, and steel was procured from a local distributor.

Kessel said the plans for the solar installation stem from a $21 million renewable energy program that the Power Authority launched last year for increasing power supplies from solar and other advanced clean energy technologies, particularly in Western New York and other Upstate areas.

Additionally, the Power Authority is partnering with the University at Buffalo for the installation of a one megawatt-scale solar photovoltaic project at its North campus.