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New solar panel installation in Highbridge one of city’s biggest

Bronx Times

With Hurricane Sandy knocking out power to more than 60,000 Bronx ratepayers, alternative ways of tapping into natural resources to create power have come to the forefront.

Just days before the storm, the Bronx officially became the home of what may be the largest solar roof panel installation on a commercial building in the borough and city.

Officials held a ceremony at GAL Manufacturing near Yankee Stadium for the installation of 988 solar panels on its roof, with company officials estimating it will save $50,000 annually on its energy costs with the 237-kilowatt system.

The company, which manufactures elevator equipment, held a ribbon cutting ceremony for the new panels Oct. 25.

Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. and Bronx Overall Economic Development Corporation president Marlene Cintron were among the dignitaries on hand to congratulate GAL owners Herb Glaser Jr. and Walter Glaser, and employees, at the 100,000 square foot manufacturing facility at 50 East 153rd Street.

“This is proof that the Bronx continues to be a leader in embracing green technologies and the green economy,” said Diaz. “More than 30% of all solar energy, and solar panels, in five boroughs are being installed right here in the Bronx, helping reduce the city’s carbon footprint and putting our energy consumption on a more sustainable path.”

Diaz said that he was proud of the progress being made in the borough to create a greener, cleaner New York and that the borough, with about between 15-to-20% of the city’s population, continues lead in many of these efforts.

As a further boost to promoting both solar energy and manufacturing, Diaz said it is his dream that panels like those being installed at GAL will be made in the Bronx by locally trained workers. Diaz said that many here are already trained in solar technologies.

A combination of federal, state, and city tax credits and incentives helped GAL management install the panels.

“Going solar not only makes financial sense, it also has a positive effect on our local Bronx community,” said Paul Seifried of GAL Manufacturing. “We’re excited to be a pioneer in New York City, and we hope other companies will take advantage of the opportunity to go solar, save money, and use cleaner energy.”

Davetta Thacher, project manager for the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority, the state’s program for larger commercial businesses has already allocated about $66 million in awards for solar, in addition to around $107 million currently available for those businesses.

Francis Murray Jr., president and CEO of NYSERDA, said that “Commercial building owners like GAL who install large scale PV systems play an integral part in the state’s efforts to meet its NY-Sun goals, expand its diverse renewable energy portfolio, and help businesses reduce their energy costs.”

Patrick Rocchio can be reach via e-mail at procchio@cnglocal.com or by phone at (718) 742-3393

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