People living on Grand Island hope to cut down on their utility bills with the help of a new community solar farm. It’s part of a project people will living near the solar farm would get access to solar panels at a discounted price.
“Anxious to take advantage of helping the environment and using solar power,” said Jim Watts, who lives on Grand Island.
Jim Watts says he would like to save a couple hundred dollars a year on his utility bill. That’s why he’s interested in signing up for the Grand Island community solar farm. It’s a large group of solar panels, where those living near the site can tap into the energy.
“I think that it’s an affordable alternative to putting the panels on your roof,” said Watts.
The town of Grand Island partnered with BlueRock Solar, a private energy company based in Syracuse.
A representative from the company explained the benefits to neighbors Thursday. Customers don’t have to put any money down and would get a 5% discount.
“The customers essentially buy those credits from us at a discount compared to what they get on their utility bill,” said Michael Francis, general manager at BlueRock Solar.
The 18-acre solar farm will be near Interstate 1-90 between Bedell Road and Industrial Drive. Although it’ll be on Grand Island, Mike Francis says it’s not just for people living there.
“The power goes right up the grid. It’s not being transmitted to everybody houses. So long as National Grid is your utility and generally speaking you live in the buffalo and surrounding areas, you can be a customer,” said Francis.
Francis says he understand some people may be hesitant.
“Do you receive a lot more production in the summertime than in the winter months, without a doubt. The weather does impact it but it still works economically, it’s great for the environment,” said Francis.
“It’s basically an economical way to get into green energy,” said Watts.
The first phase of the project will be on 8 or 9 acres with more than 6, 000 solar panels. Francis says that’ll be enough to power about 300 homes.
People can sign up through April 30th. The panels are scheduled to be up by this summer. For more information visit here.