Rhinebeck seeks grants for solar energy projects

RHINEBECK — The town plans to apply to the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority for $420,000 in grants to make Town Hall more energy efficient and fund solar energy projects to help power the town’s highway garage and waste transfer station.

Applications for two grants covering 80 percent of the projected cost of the projects were approved at a Town Board meeting Monday. Town officials said the work at Town Hall would include new lighting fixtures and windows.

“The lights in the Town Hall would use efficiencies like motion sensors to turn on the lights, and they would turn off automatically,” Supervisor Tom Traudt said.

The current cost of electrical service at the highway garage and transfer station was not available.

Traudt said the $105,000 town share of the project cost is expected to be recovered in savings on electrical and heating fuel expenses.

“We’re talking about a seven-year payback on this,” he said.

Officials said the highway garage on Rhinecliff Road and transfer station on Stone Church Road are well-suited for solar electric facilities.

The grants, Traudt said, are to encourage facilities throughout the state to reduce their use of the state’s electrical grid.

“We think both of those places would see a substantial benefit from this grant,” he said. “We’re glad the state is encouraging this, and it is timely because it allows us to work on a project that we always wanted to do