City Mission Receives 'Green' Upgrade

August 26, 2010 Updated Aug 26, 2010 at 3:17 PM EDT

By WKBW Programming

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City Mission Receives 'Green' Upgrade

August 26, 2010 Updated Aug 26, 2010 at 3:17 PM EDT

BUFFALO, NY (WKBW) - The Buffalo City Mission got a 'green' upgrade Thursday that will help the nonprofit save some green of its own.

The City Mission received a new solar energy system from Solar Liberty that will provide a valuable source of electricity for the area's largest homeless shelter.

The 204-panel rooftop system is expected to produce 53,600 kWh of electricity per year, approximately 16 percent of the building’s electrical usage. At current electrical rates, the system will save the Mission an estimated $6,700 in utility costs in its first year and is expected to increase each year if energy prices rise.

“Aside from the immediate cost savings, the City Mission is now a much greener building,” said Solar Liberty CEO Adam Rizzo.

The system will offset the building’s carbon footprint by 919 tons of CO2, which is the equivalent of planting a forest of 36,740 trees or removing 1.67 million miles of automobile traffic from the roads.

“As part of an on-going effort, we’re providing nonprofit organizations and schools throughout New York State with solar energy to lower their expenses and reduce their carbon footprint,” said Rizzo. “The Mission’s staff works hard year-round to provide services to the people in need in our community. We’re happy to partner with the Mission to save money on their energy costs and provide even more assistance to thousands of homeless men, women and children across Western New York.”

Solar Liberty installed the 47.94 kW solar energy system at no cost to the Mission using a grant from the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) and donated design and installation services. The array of solar panels, located on the roof of the East Tupper facility facing the Kensington Expressway, is expected to produce enough electricity to power about nine average homes. Factoring in possible energy inflation, over the system’s 25-year warranty lifetime, it will save the Mission approximately $300,293 in utility costs.

“Like any non-profit, we are constantly looking for opportunities to expand our services. We are very grateful to the Solar Liberty team for providing us with this state-of-the-art upgrade that will continue to benefit us long into the future, said Buffalo City Mission Executive Director Stuart Harper.

“Our new solar energy system will allow us to more efficiently serve those in need, all while being a good friend to the environment and the community,” said Harper.

Sen. Thompson , D-Buffalo, chairs the Senate Environmental Conservation Committee and was honored this year for his efforts to promote legislation aimed at cleaning up the environment and making it more energy efficient. The New York State Energy Industries Association (NYSEIA) presented Senator Thompson with the “Solar Legislative Champion Award, which goes annually to people who show exceptional leadership in promoting solar energy through New York State policy and legislation.

“The City Mission installation is a perfect example of government, a non-profit and industry collaborating on a worthwhile project,” he said. “This helps our environment, creates jobs and investment and demonstrates leadership.”

Solar Liberty has installed hundreds of solar energy systems statewide for government, commercial, and residential customers. Most recently, the company installed dozens of systems for the Catholic Diocese schools, the downtown Merchant’s Insurance headquarters, and the town of West Seneca. Major upcoming installations include the 1.1 megawatt University at Buffalo solar project, the NFTA Bus Garage, and the Rochester International Airport.