Thoroughbred trainer goes solar Masthead

Thoroughbred trainer goes solar

Solar Powered Barn
SARATOGA SPRINGS — Roy Lerman built his Gridley Avenue barn 15 years ago, but it got a serious update only a few weeks ago. The barn, which houses about 28 horses, is now almost completely solar powered.

Lerman said he’s long been involved in environmental work and built a solar-powered building completely off the electrical grid a few years ago at his Florida farm. Putting solar panels up at his Saratoga Springs facility made financial sense this year, he said, but it’s the intangible benefits that really convinced him it was the right move to make.

“It’s the right and good thing to do for me, the country, the city, the world,” he said. “There’s no more important thing than eliminating barrels of oil.”

Lerman’s 12.9 kilowatt system covers one side of the barn’s roof. Before taking into account incentives from New York and federal tax credits, the system cost $68,862. Lerman received a $22,575 rebate from New York, a check written directly to the installer, Adirondack Solar, on his behalf. He also received a federal income tax credit for 30 percent of the original $68,862. An accelerated 5-year depreciation program provides additional savings.

Lerman uses the barn for less than six months each year and said his electric bill last year was $2,619. Even though he is only using electricity for part of the year, his high usage during those months forced him into a high demand rate.

The solar power system, however, is designed to provide nearly 100 percent of his power needs. A new meter runs in both directions to measure the electricity flowing into and from his barn.

“They’re here seasonally … but we’re able to generate power all year,” Scott Rakowski, of Adirondack Solar, said. That means Lerman is banking credits with the electric company in case his power demands for any given day exceed the solar power he produces.

Now that he is producing his own power, Lerman said he and his staff are paying much more attention to their electricity use.

“Everybody’s more cognizant of what they’re doing,” he said.

Rakowski explained that although Saratoga Springs’ winters can be brutal, the solar system is designed to handle snow and ice and will continue to produce power. Cold weather, in fact, makes the system produce power most efficiently.

“It seems almost impossible that it’s a win-win-win situation,” Lerman said. “It’s only not a win for the utility company.” Read Full Story