With energy costs on the rise, many are doing anything to lower utility bills. Some have turned to greener options. In this week's Capital Region Business Beat, Jon Dougherty introduces us to a local company that's leading the charge towards energy efficiency.
RENSSELAER, N.Y. -- Crews have been very busy lately at an apartment complex in East Greenbush recently. The complex is installing solar panels on each of its buildings. When complete, the panels will power all of the common areas in the complex, including the pool area with help from the sun.
The panels are being installed by Monolith Solar, a solar installation company based in Rensselaer.
"We started in a garage in about 2008 because of frustration with my own utility bill," said Monolith Solar Vice President Steven Erby.
Erby actually started researching clean energy technologies after hearing comedian Jay Leno powered his classic car garage with a wind turbine.
More than five years after opening Monolith, the company continues to grow.
"We've installed about 10 million watts of solar and we expect that number to triple over the next 18 months," Erby said.
Monolith has installed enough solar panels to power about 1,200 homes a year solely from the sun, including their own offices.
The solar panels aren't just used to create energy. Monolith also uses them for education purposes.
"We have a complete sector of our company that that's all they focus on is going out and teaching classes. These kids are going to take this to the next level," said Erby.
Monolith also has an office in Kansas City, Missouri. It recently announced it will open a Binghamton location to better serve Central and Western New York.
By the end of 2014, Monolith hopes to have as many as 200 people on staff.
Erby said there's a big misconception on the cost of solar power.
"Right now solar is the most affordable, quickest payback, easiest to perform and with NYSERDA's current rebates in New York State, you can basically do it with nothing down," he said.
To learn more go to www.monolithsolar.com.
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