The West Sayville Fire Department has become the first department in New York to go solar, thanks to $79,000 in stimulus cash it recently received from the state.
The grant, announced by U.S. Rep. Steve Israel, originated from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act but was delivered through the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority.
"This fire house is generating clean energy and making the United States less dependent on fossil fuels," said Mike Bailis, owner of Sunation, the company that installed the panels. "Operating costs are down and taxes are down. This is a win-win."
Congressman Israel explained that the bill supports projects focused on clean, renewable energy. "This will reduce our dependency on fossil fuels and lower utility bills," he said. "Many local business, as well as residential homes, are starting to go solar."
When completed, the solar energy system will save the fire department about $2,000 a year on its energy bills. The department will also receive a break in its property taxes as a result of using green energy.
Commissioner Tom McNamara spoke on behalf of the fire district and said, "We are proud to be the first solar fire house in New York State. We are changing red to green."