New solar power project to cut electricity costs in upstate N.Y.

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AMSTERDAM, N.Y. (AP) — There's a new bright spot in Amsterdam, New York — a solar power project that's expected to save the old industrial city thousands of dollars a year in electrical costs.

Amsterdam's new "solar garden" is expected to go online Monday.

Built on a decommissioned reservoir, the 2,000-panel project is the biggest solar array to date in the city of 18,000 people, about 35 miles from Albany.

"It's good news for Amsterdam, because we're repurposing the property, and the residents will benefit because it's new revenue to the city," Mayor Ann Thane told the newspaper.

The project is expected to generate enough electricity to power the city's water and wastewater plants and pump station.

Monolith Solar paid to build the array, with the city agreeing in return to buy power from it for 20 years, at about 30 percent below prevailing energy rates, Monolith Solar account manager Tim Carr told the Daily Gazette. The city expects to save $40,000 in the first year and $1.3 million over 20 years.

After that, the city can buy the system, extend the agreement in five-year intervals or end the deal and have Monolith Solar dismantle the array, he said.

Amsterdam already has smaller, rooftop arrays on a bus garage and public safety building. With the new project, Amsterdam's municipal buildings will get about one-third of their power from solar energy, according to state Assemblyman Angelo Santabarbara's office. The array also took advantage of state incentives for solar installations.

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