New Solar Installation Helps Connecticut Manufacturer Achieve Energy Freedom
WESTBROOK, Conn., and BEDFORD, Mass.--(June 27, 2008)--For the Lee Company, a long-standing icon of American ingenuity with 60 years of heritage in Connecticut, Independence Day arrived a few days early.
Today, June 27, the Lee Company will inaugurate its solar energy system—and proudly embark on a journey toward independence from the use of fossil fuels.
With 1,760 photovoltaic panels on the roof, the 308-kilowatt solar electric system is the largest of its kind to be installed by a manufacturing company in Connecticut, and one of the largest in New England.
Nearly half the size of a football field, the system covers 29,000 square feet on the rooftop of the manufacturing facility. At peak usage, the system is expected to generate the equivalent energy used by 34 homes each year.
The system was designed and installed by Gloria Spire Solar of Bedford, Mass., and was made possible, in part, by a $1.2 million grant from Connecticut Clean Energy Fund, which will defray approximately half of the cost of the photovoltaic system. Additionally, the Lee Company will seek to further defray costs utilizing the Federal renewable energy Investment Tax Credit (ITC) program.
At a time when the Federal ITC program is in jeopardy, the Lee Company’s solar installation may well be one of the last projects of its kind built in 2008 and perhaps longer. Many legislators realize that renewable energy is far too important to this country—in terms of energy independence, environmental protection and also for the much-needed economic boost of ‘green collar” jobs—to let it expire indefinitely. However, the program may lapse until a new administration is in place.
Both the Lee Company and Gloria Spire Solar emphasize that the renewable energy tax credits are critical to future projects such as this one.
“As a member of our community, our state and our country, we are absolutely committed to doing what we can to use renewable resources,” says Leighton Lee IV, facilities manager for The Lee Company. “However, as a business, the realities of funding projects like this one would be difficult without the financial incentives we’ve received.”
“Our belief is that our government will renew the tax credit program by the end of this year,” says Gloria Spire CEO Mark Goodreau. “Until then, it’s having a serious impact on the renewable energy industry. The Lee Company may be one of the last shining examples of large-scale renewable energy projects to move forward this year. Companies not already committed are likely to put projects on hold and diminish renewable energy’s impact toward reducing dependence on fossil fuels.”