Charlotte Considers Solar Energy

CHARLOTTE – A highly experienced electrician is offering his advice on solar energy to Charlotte officials.

Rodney Weaver, Rural Generation and Wind Inc. project manager, told Town Board members about the concept of bringing solar energy to town residents.

“One thing to consider is networking meters around town,” he said. “You will benefit from that.”

The ground system proved to be the best way for Charlotte to get the most out of its solar power.

“Ground is best and easy to maintain,” Weaver said. “We can do 100 percent of your energy needs.”

Weaver walked the town officials through the process.

“An engineer has to build wind modes that can sustain the building. The ground system works for 95 to 100 mpg winds,” he said. “All solar panels have to be on. They can withstand hail up to 100 mph.”

Councilman Henry Harper is worried townspeople’s children will be crawling all over it if it’s not protected. Weaver replied that the board would need to put a fence around the ground system.

“The fire police should have keys to the fence,” he said. “This will keep the system safe.”

Weaver explained that he is 100 percent NYSERDA approved and is a certified electrician who has had his own company for 30 years.

“What you would pay toward your electric bill now would go toward your loan,” he said. “After 25 years you would essentially have free electric. You won’t have to raise taxes for this. You would produce 100 percent of your electric needs.”

The board would have the loan paid off in about 4 to 7 years, according to Weaver.

“This is why I have been doing it (solar) for a long time,” he said. “I believe in it.”

Resident Mark Erb wondered if the town could sell power to other communities.

“Networking meters only works in your town,” Weaver answered. “Community Project is a whole other different ball game, which would allow networking to whoever, but would cost the town millions of dollars.”

Weaver added if the town received extra power it would simply keep it as backup for the next year.

“They won’t let you be your own utility company,” he said. “It is only to supply your town’s needs.”

Supervisor Kenneth Bochmann addressed the issue of this area not getting much sun, which is mandatory for solar energy to function.

“We have decades of data on the average sun in this area,” Weaver said. “We don’t know when the sun will shine, the rain will fall, and the wind will blow, but we work on average sun.”

After the town applies for grants and gets an idea on how it feels about solar energy, Weaver offered to help it figure out how to go about asking for bids.

“I will help you design the bidding process,” he said. “I have been doing this forever.”

Bochmann liked the sound of solar energy, and told Weaver he would get back to him on it after the town board decided where to go with it.