In Somers Elementary School, Sen. Kissel helps cut the ribbon to officially recognize the use of solar panels [Ellington-Somers Patch]

June 4, 2012

Article as it appeared in the Ellington-Somers Patch

On Friday afternoon, Somers First Selectwoman Lisa Pellegrini cut the ribbon to officially recognize the use of solar panels on Somers Elementary School.

The panels have been operational since the beginning of April, and are a project that Pellegrini is very proud of.

“It’s amazing when you think of when everybody works together, what you can accomplish,” she said. “This was a little acorn of an idea that started, just a tad over a year ago. All departments worked so hard together to make sure that all the pieces fell into place.”

She said that a year ago, she got in a car with Erik Bartone, from DBS Energy who put in the system, and Department of Public Works Director Todd Rolland, and they drove all over town, wondering where they could put a system.

“It started because we had gotten a grant to do 24 panels on the fire station and when that was installed, we thought, ‘Wow, this works. It’s absolutely amazing. What can we do?,’” Pellegrini said.

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Once they came up with the idea, they needed the money. That came in the form of a grant, which Pellegrini was very excited to receive. Then the planning and preparations began.

The system will last between 20 and 25 years, so Pellegrini and her team had to make sure that the roof of the school would last as long.

“So instead of doing a $2.5 million roof repair, we ended up doing a roof membrane for about $348,000,” she said.

Then the panels were installed and on April 3, they went into operation and immediately began producing a lot of power.

On hand for the ribbon cutting were State Rep. Penny Bacchiochi, State Sen. John Kissel, Department of Energy and Environmental Protection Commissioner Daniel Esty, and other local dignitaries.

“You really are leading the way,” Bacchiochi said of the project. “You guys here in Somers leadership are trendsetters and I am very proud to be your representative and part of this team.”

Esty echoed Pellegrini’s sentiment about working together, saying, “This project is a fabulous example of what can happen when people work together.”

Next up is putting panels on the DPW garage, and then a couple other projects are in the works.

“We’re doing some wonderful, amazing things,” Pellegrini said. “We’re continually looking to the future.”

If you would like to see the power that the systems are producing, you can find it on the town Web site.