Historic downtown building powered by solar panels

Albany Dougherty Economic Development President Ted Clem, right, and Vice-President of Business Development Justin Strickland, look at the solar panels recently installed on the roof of the Albany-Area Chamber of Commerce.

Albany Dougherty Economic Development President Ted Clem, right, and Vice-President of Business Development Justin Strickland, look at the solar panels recently installed on the roof of the Albany-Area Chamber of Commerce.

— Local economic development officials have mixed new, innovative and green technology with one of the city's oldest and most recognizable downtown buildings to set an example of how businesses can not only be environmentally friendly, but use Georgia businesses in the process.

The Albany-Dougherty Economic Development Commission, in conjunction with the Albany Water, Gas & Light Commission and the Albany Area Chamber of Commerce, have installed a 5kW solar panel system on the rooftop of the Chamber building.

The 22 solar modules will have an annual output nearly equal to offset an average-size home's footprint.

Justin Strickland, the Albany-Dougherty Economic Development Commission's Vice-President for Business Development, said that the panels will meet about 10-15 percent of the building's electricity needs during the year.

"We hope it shows a great partnership between the EDC, the chamber and WG&L, and that we can do innovative things and hopefully set an example for other businesses in town," Strickland said.

The systems were funded in part through a grant from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. Costs not covered by the grant were covered by WG&L.

EDC President Ted Clem said that with Albany's weather, solar panels are a viable option for helping reduce energy cost and carbon footprints.

"Albany has 224 sunny days per year, compared to a national average of 205 days, making it an ideal location for solar energy production, said Ted Clem, president of the EDC.

Strickland said that the EDC used solar panels manufactured by a Georgia company and hired an Atlanta-based solar panel installer to put the panels on the building.


TrixibelleBento 3 years, 9 months ago

Nice story, but is this really breaking news?


Amazed2 3 years, 9 months ago

IF there is any copper or aluminum used in making them they better put an around the clock APD Officer watching them or maybe direct one of those unmonitored downtown cameras at the panels. The copper theives will have them scrapped out in a few nights.


whattheheck 3 years, 9 months ago

So, what were the costs of the project--grant and WG&L portion?


dingleberry 3 years, 9 months ago

Only the Shadow knows, and he ain't talking! When it comes to "green initiatives", cost doesn't matter. Understand? Green is the perfect color to choose as a descriptor since it takes so much of the green to fund these initiatives.
Sure hope the roof was in good shape before these things were installed 'cause it won't be easy to work on it now.


mik178 3 years, 9 months ago

I am a fan using some form of green energy, but i would really love to know what these panels cost. Ultimatly they were paid for by taxpayer money so should that not be made public? The ARRA funding should go to long term projects which help to provide jobs. These types of projects do nothing to help the community as a whole and I am really not to happy about WG&L picking up the remainder of tab. It would seem only fair that the ARA and WG&L would also pay to install thes panels throuought Albany to save the rate payers and tax payers 10 to 15% per year on our utilities. In my opinion this is a poor example to local business becuase if they want this form of green energy they do not have the luxury of public funding. The last time I checked the solar panels are very expensive and the cost of paying out of pocket did not justify the savings or else I would have done this a long time ago.


Amazed2 3 years, 9 months ago

Read the wording in the article. Beware, they use the word "nearly" in regard to saving about "the footprint of an average house". Sounds like they are leaving themselves a hole lot of wiggle room there with words like average and nearly. Well if an average sized house uses and average of $125 monthly then that would be my guess of what they save. My guess is they spent at least $100,000 dollars on this venture so assumming no interest and no repairs or upkeep to the solar system and assumming they don't just crap out in 15 to 20 years then the system should pay for itself in "NEARLY" 75 to 85 years or sometime around the year 2090 or so on the average base on current savings. Also as you will note the system put out about 5KW. That is about like running a medium sized gas generator from Lowes or Home Depot. YOu can buy one of those cheaper versions for maybe $600 to $700 and it will burn about 4 to 6 gallons of fuel each 24 hour period. All that said it sounds like the solar panel system is and expensive government experiment with our tax dollars; Guess I am wondering why we hooked it up to the Chamber and not to a building like the police station or something?? The Chamber is at least partially funded by Dues Paying Members unless I am mistaken.


Sister_Ruby 3 years, 9 months ago

According to my bill from WG&L I averaged 3kW every hour last month. So the 5kWH figure, adjusted for the percentage of time that the sun shines, would be pretty close to their estimate. But for a building this large, it's just a drop in the bucket, so yesterday's headline was a little misleading "building powered by solar panels".....not really. 224 days out of 365 with only half of those 224 being "daylight" when power is being produced. That's producing energy about 30% of the time.

Even so, these so-called green energy projects have a payback time of 10 years. Most industries want a payback in under two years which is why they only invest in token amounts so that they can use it for "Public Relations" benefits. Like most of Obama's pet topics, the real returns on green energy projects just isn't there.


benh1936 3 years, 9 months ago

Most likely they cost more to buy and install than they will ever save on energy.


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