As you know, our Town Solar Array, located adjacent to the Erie Canal by Cedar Bay Park at the site of our former landfill, supports our municipal electrical needs now, including all of our municipal buildings, facilities, water and sewer pumps, and streetlights. From an environmental perspective, the 2.66 Megawatts of electricity the array produces, frees the Town of DeWitt from using fossil fuels for all of our municipal electric needs; that represents a carbon reduction of 2,605 metric tons – the equivalent of taking 510 vehicles off the road –over the 20-year life of the project. Economically, the array is projected to save us $70,000 per year on our municipal electric energy costs; totaling approximately $2 million over 20 years.
What you may not know, is how the Solar Array will work in tandem with our proposed Hydrogen Power Project.
Thanks to Senator Chuck Schumer, the Town received $230,000 in grant funding to support an innovative “green technology” pilot project. The project objective is to harness hydrogen power via construction of a small-scale hydrogen production facility; our ultimate goal is powering heavy equipment vehicles without using fossil fuels. At present, there is no Electric Vehicle (EV) technology developed for heavy equipment vehicles – snowplows and other heavy-duty trucks – electric vehicles simply cannot generate enough power to push snow, pave roads, or lift heavy materials.
Our Solar Array is integral to implementing this “green technology” hydrogen power project:
- We will utilize the surplus electricity from our Town Solar Array in the process of separating water into oxygen and hydrogen.
- We will then bottle the hydrogen and test its effectiveness – on a trial basis – as fuel for one of our highway vehicles and/or pickup trucks.
- In this process, hydrogen serves as the fuel, which – when combusted with oxygen in a combustion engine – produces water as an end product, thereby eliminating the carbon dioxide and toxic gas pollution released from engines that burn gasoline and diesel fuel.
The Town of DeWitt is committed to reducing our use of fossil fuels via innovative, green technology, both solar and hydrogen. Our long-term goal is to one day be fully free from using fossil fuels, not only for our municipal buildings, but also all of our town vehicles and equipment.
The Town of DeWitt…we’re building community.