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City of Rome building one of the largest solar energy systems in the state

By ANNA MEILER

ROME, N.Y. (WKTV) -- The sun gives warmth, Vitamin D, even a good tan- and now it's helping the city of Rome save money.

"This is a huge deal for Rome. We're going to have one of the largest solar energy systems in the state," said Jake Dibari, Director for Community and Economic Development.

Nine-thousand panels will be installed at the land fill on Tannery Road. Even in Central New York where the sun is a stranger, the project is still a money saver.

"That's a common misconception that we don't have enough sun. That couldn't be further from truth because we get 4.5 hours of sunlight a day which is the average and you couple that with state and federal incentives, it makes solar a great investment and that's why you see New York as one of top states for installing solar," said Dibari.

The city of Rome already has solar panels on top of the Fort Stanwix parking garage, the Kennedy Arena and city hall. Now with 9,000 more, the city will save over $100,000 a year for 20 years.

"That money will go back into the general fund and that will allow us to do more streets projects, more maybe other green energy projects, we're doing wonderful waterfront development projects down at the Erie Canal. So, we really need that money because like most municipalities there have been hard times so we're excited to put some money back in the general fund," said Dibari.

The new solar farm will produce 3 million watts of energy, providing city owned buildings with 40 percent of their energy with no out-of-pocket costs.

"Like most municipalities we're going to be doing a power purchase agreement where we're going to be working with a company that will own, operate and maintain the system and all we have to do is purchase electricity from them," said Dibari.

The project is expected to be complete by Thanksgiving.

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