Feedback: Lewis County To Save $3.3M By Going Solar
The cornfield behind the Lewis County Public Safety Building will soon be filled with solar panels.
With the stroke of a pen, the county has a 20-year agreement with a solar company called Greenskies.
"It's kind of a no brainer as we've come to understand the economics of it. It really will lower our energy costs for a long time," said Liz Swearingin, county manager.
The 2-megawatt project will save at least $3.3 million over 20 years on electricity costs for county buildings and Lewis County General Hospital.
If it generates power above a minimum standard, the county's savings grow.
"If there was more production, we would get more money. And if there was an increase in power rates, we could get more money," said county Legislator Phil Hathway.
Greenskies gets a healthy share of the proceeds - generous federal and state subsidies for green power make the project attractive.
And just as Lewis County is a great place for wind power, turns out its climate is perfect for solar, too.
"And heat actually makes solar panels less effective. So the fact that you have sunny, cold days is better than having sunny, hot days," said Ittay Arad, Greenskies vice president for business development.
It could be in operation sometime this fall.