Stern Village goes green
When a town project benefits taxpayers, senior citizens on fixed incomes and the environment, it’s a good thing, said First Selectman Tim Herbst.
Herbst joined a group of town and green energy officials at the unveiling of a solar panel array on top of the Congregate building at Stern Village. The panels, which were installed at no cost to the town, have a capacity of 91 kilowatts and should generate about 80% of the power used by the building, according to Josh Caley of C-TEC Solar.
Caley said the solar power should save about $4,500 annually, though that number could vary depending on energy prices. Over their 25-year life the panels could reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 3.7 million pounds.
According to Stern Village Executive Director Harriet Polansky, the project began as part of a green initiative back in 2014.
“At the time it was rare to install solar panels on a multi-family affordable housing building,” she said.
But Stern Village’s Congregate, with its large north-south oriented roof, was a perfect fit, she said.
“The panels are on the south side, which is the back of the building, so you really can’t even see them from the road,” she said. “Also, the building gets absolutely no shade, and we had just replaced the roof, so with the new roof and the new solar panels, they should both be good for the next 25 years.”
Brandon Pizzoferrato of C-TEC said the panels should begin paying off immediately.
“This is actually the ideal time,” he said. “Most people think solar panels generate most electricity in the summer, but a sunny day in the dead of winter is perfect.”
Heat is actually resistance to energy flow, which is why electronic devices have cooling systems to help them operate more efficiently, he said.
Herbst described the project as a win-win-win.
“It’s not only good for the environment, but it helps the residents and the staff that take care of the people at Stern Village,” he said. “By keeping energy costs down, it helps maintain the affordability of the individual units. It’s good for the environment, good for the people and good for the budget.”