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Solar savings coming to Clay

Solar panels, like these outside Warner Energy LLC on Morgan Road, will be installed this summer at Clay's town hall and highway facilities.

Solar panels, like these outside Warner Energy LLC on Morgan Road, will be installed this summer at Clay's town hall and highway facilities. Photo by Sarah Hall.

— Any politician worth his salt will tell you green technology is the way of the future.

Clay Town Supervisor Damian Ulatowski is no exception.

“When I took the supervisor’s seat, I made it very clear to the board that green technology was very important to me, and I was going to do everything I could to embrace that for the town in my capacity as supervisor,” Ulatowski said.

Ulatowski said the town was able to make town hall and other municipal buildings more energy efficient by way of a $500,000 energy grant from the U.S. Department of Energy. Those improvements have resulted in an 18 percent reduction in energy usage and a 37 percent cut in the cost of heating and lighting at the garage.

“That’s a part of lowering the utility bill that affects the taxpayers,” Ulatowski said. “That’s the next path for the town.”

That’s why the town is embarking on the path toward solar energy. With the help of Warner Energy LLC, a Clay-based business that designs and develops solar project for clients nationwide, Clay officials are planning the installation of a 99kW solar array at Town Hall and the highway garage to reduce and stabilize energy costs.

“I believe we cannot sustain ourselves on being dependent on fossil fuels forever,” Ulatowski said. “There’s this big ball of light in the sky, and it’s been shining for billions of years. We have the technology to understand how that energy can be harnessed and how we can process that energy for little or no costs.”

For a long time, Ulatowski said he’d been told that solar energy wouldn’t work in an environment like Central New York, which has the second-most cloud cover in the country (second only to the Seattle metro area).

“I’ve been told that it wouldn’t work in a northern environment, especially in the Syracuse area. There’s just not enough sunlight to make solar energy work effectively,” he said. “So I sought out companies that had the technology for solar panels that could function not just with the sun but with light of any kind, and Warner Energy is just such a company. They’ve created technology that’s 85 percent effective with any kind of light.”

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