BY JOE OLENICK firstname.lastname@example.org
Niagara Gazette — Officials are calling the Crosby’s store at Lake Avenue and Old Niagara Road the first solar-powered convenience store in the region, after showing off its new array of solar power panels recently.
But it won’t be alone for long. The chain, a subsidiary of Lockport-based Reid Petroleum, plans to add solar power to another store at Wehrle Drive and Union Road in Cheektowaga by December.
In Lockport, Crosby’s has a 200-panel array to the east of the store’s parking lot that will generate 52 kilowatts of electricity per year. That’s roughly 20 percent of the store’s annual usage, or about the same amount needed to power more than five homes.
Crosby’s is expecting the equivalent of 70 free days of electricity per year as a result of the system. The array brings a number of benefits, according to Reid Group President Paul Quebral.
“This installation will allow us to save money and reduce energy consumption, while at the same time produce green, renewable power that reduces stress on the regional electric grid” he said. “This system is a serious statement about our company’s focus on long-term sustainability and on being good neighbors in the many communities we call home.”
The solar array was installed by Montante Solar of Kenmore. Daniel Montante, president of Montante Solar, said excess power generated at the store during the warmer months will be sold to New York State Electric & Gas Corp.
An estimated 35 percent of the cost of the project was funded by the New York Energy Research and Development Authority under its NY-Sun program. Quebral declined to disclose the cost of the Lockport installation.
The price of solar installation is dropping dramatically, said state Sen. George D. Maziarz, R-Newfane, chairman of the Senate Energy Committee.
“It takes a forward-thinking company like Reid Petroleum, like Montante Solar, to go out and take advantage of the change in the laws,” Maziarz said. “Solar is the way to go in the state of New York.”
Kelly Tyler of NYSERDA said the NY-Sun program, a topic in Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo’s State of the State address this year, has given an average of $4.8 million in assistance each month to solar power projects.
The initiative, launched in 2012, is targeted to make $800 million in solar power investments statewide through 2015.
“Solar is a critical component of New York’s diverse renewable energy portfolio,” Tyler said.
Contact reporter Joe Olenick at 439-9222, ext. 6241 or follow him on Twitter @joeolenick.