As Otsego County explores options for energy use, two local nonprofit organizations are promoting low-cost clean energy initiatives and funding opportunities for residents and business owners in the county and surrounding areas.

Energize NY, a Westchester-based community development nonprofit, serves as the state-designated agency to implement the Property Assessed Clean Energy program, which incentivizes commercial property owners to upgrade their energy-use profiles by covering out-of-pocket installation costs for energy improvements.

“This is a great opportunity for Otsego County commercial property owners and nonprofits to invest in their properties, improve energy efficiency and reduce their carbon footprint,” Otsego County Board of Representatives Chairman David Bliss said.

Projects in existing buildings and new construction projects, including gut renovations and additions, may qualify for funding. Eligible projects include insulation, lighting and window upgrades, boiler conversions and the installation of smart technologies such as occupancy sensors and thermostats with mobile device remote-control capability.

Funding is also available for the installation or upgrade of renewable energy systems including solar, ground and air-source heat pumps, anaerobic digestors and battery storage.

“We’re really excited to bring Otsego County on board to the program,” said Sarah Smiley, director of membership services for Energize NY. “We look forward to helping facilitate more green energy projects.”

While most residential property owners are not eligible to receive funds through Energize NY, another local nonprofit organization offers access to solar energy for low-income households.

Solstice unveiled plans for a 13-acre community solar farm in Laurens last August, offering clean energy use subscriptions as an alternative to privately owned, personally installed solar networks for up to 400 households across Otsego, Delaware, Chenango and Sullivan counties.

Earlier this year, Solstice introduced a new metric circumventing traditional solar financing options, which often require a credit score rating of at least 650, according to company representative Biba Davenport. 

Developed in partnership with the Department of Energy and analysts from MIT and Stanford, the EnergyScore metric is designed to more accurately understand the ability of a household to make utility payments by incorporating a range of measures beyond credit score.

For more information on clean-energy project financing for commercial properties, visit www.energizeny.org. For more information on solar energy programs and low-cost alternatives, visit solstice.us

Sarah Eames, staff writer, can be reached at seames@thedailystar.com or 607-441-7213. Follow her @DS_SarahE on Twitter.

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