Solar energy considered in Village of Thomaston

The Island Now

Mayor Steven Weinberg of the Village of Thomaston said village officials were considering a plan that would make switching to solar-generated electricity more affordable and accessible for residents.
Weinberg said village officials were in the early preparation stages of forming the “Thomaston Solar Initiative,” which would be a plan for the village to contract with a vendor that would offer a cost benefit to residents seeking to use solar energy.
“It’s a concept idea. The question is can the village, on a village-wide basis if enough people are interested in participating together, realize a price where they can do it?” he said. “At the moment, that’s the idea I’ll be exploring with the village board.”
Weinberg said that both the state and federal governments have laid the groundwork for those seeking to switch from their traditional method of obtaining electricity to solar-powered electricity.
“People can decide to do it alone, but my question is if we can do it together for an economic benefit,” he said.
While researching the prospect of getting solar electricity systems on a village-wide basis, Weinberg said he found that the New York State Smart Energy Loan by Energy Finance Solutions, a subsidized loan program, was accepting applications for a $25,000 loan to change to a solar electricity system.
If approved for the loan before Sept. 1, he said, residents will get it at a 3.49 percent fixed interest rate, which he said would help people who do not have the funds available to purchase a solar electricity system in one shot.
“The idea is that over the long term that this is a less costly method of obtaining your electricity,” Weinberg said.
After the Sept. 1 application deadline, the interest rate increases to about 4.99 percent, Weinberg said.
He said he was making the switch to a solar electricity system because of the potential for cost savings over time.
“Personally, I’m making the switch and hoping that this will actually fix my electric bill so I’m paying what I’m paying now, maybe a little less, and hoping costs will stay fixed after the loan is paid,” Weinberg said.
He said that he and the village board would continue discussing and attempting to move forward with the village solar initiative and assessing if it is something village residents would be interested in.
“If people feel this is a cleaner form of energy then they are fulfilling that goal and that’s number one,” Weinberg said. “Everyone has to make their own determination as to which is the cleanest form of energy.”

By Joe Nikic

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