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State puts solar power in Fort Niagara park picture

YOUNGSTOWN – The state Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation recently flipped the switch on a 50-kilowatt solar photovoltaic system at Fort Niagara State Park.

The solar energy system is expected to save $9,100 annually and bring a clean, modern source of energy to the park. It is also expected to enhance efforts to improve energy efficiency throughout the park system.

“State Parks is leading the way in clean, renewable solar energy use and I’m elated that we are helping to power the oldest buildings on the Great Lakes with a clean, 21st-century energy source,” state Parks Commissioner Rose Harvey said.

The system will power the maintenance facility and 10 percent of the rest of the park’s facilities, including the Old Fort Niagara historic site.

The $90,000 Fort Niagara project is the ninth installation that the state parks office has completed to date. Fort Niagara’s 219 solar panels will generate a total of 57,130 kilowatt hours annually – enough to power eight houses.

Parks staff installed the photovoltaic, or PV, system after getting solar installer certification training at SUNY Alfred and certification by the state Energy Research Development Authority. John B. Rhodes, authority president and CEO, said, “The project at Fort Niagara State Park is a model of how the state is leading by example in using renewable energy to power its facilities and protect the environment.”

The state Parks Office will install its largest solar PV project at Robert Moses State Park on Long Island, a 500-kilowatt system. In addition, there will be 300 kilowatts more solar power generating capacity this year at these state parks: Sunken Meadow on Long Island; Peebles Island and Thatcher in the Capital Region; and Alan H. Treman in the Finger Lakes. These projects are expected to generate $180,000 in total annual savings. The first installation of a PV system was at Niagara Falls State Park’s Discovery Center.

For information, call 518-474-0456 or visit