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solar power

Solar System Installation in Pavilion

By Rick D. Franclemont


Jennifer Schoff of Pavilion had searched for several years for an affordable alternative energy source, wind and solar installations were available but much to expensive for an individual household.  About a year ago she was contacted by You Save Green ( about leasing a solar system.  You Save Green would install and maintain the system for the length of the lease agreement for a fixed monthly fee.

Jennifer agreed to the lease arrangement and work began last week on the installation.  Her system consists of a stand holding 26 - 3' x 5' solar panels with a total maximum output of 6000 watts, an inverter to convert the DC electric to AC and a meter to keep track of how much energy is produced.

With this type of system electricity is only produced when there is sunshine so the homeowner will still rely on the electric grid at times there is no sun.  The good side is the electric company will pay her for all the excess electricity produced.


Mounting Platform For solar panels


Panel installation almost complete


Proximity to garage


Electrical panel and solar system controls

Solar-powered sign is Batavia elementary school's first step toward 'Going Green'

By Daniel Crofts

Digital signs are nothing new for area schools -- but Robert Morris Elementary, at 80 Union St. in Batavia, is the first school in the Genesee Valley to have a solar-powered digital sign, which was unveiled last month.

The new 3x8 sign, which shares important information with the school community, is fully powered by the sun's energy, collected and converted into electricity by solar panels on the school's roof.

This environmentally friendly and money-saving technology allows the sign to store energy and stay powered up even at night and in overcast weather. 

The sign is part of Robert Morris' "Going Green" project, which is being coordinated by the all-volunteer parent group FORM (Friends of Robert Morris).

The "green" project, in turn, is part of the school's committment to educating students and keeping them informed about renewable energy and environmentally responsible technology.

As the current school year drew to a close, Principal Diane Bonarigo went to each of the classrooms and explained the new solar sign to students -- including how it would turn the sun's energy into electricity, etc.

"Our students are very excited about learning how solar energy is powering this sign," Bonarigo said in a news release. "(It) will engage (them) for years to come."

FORM co-chair Roseann Quinn said that they would like to focus more intensely on "green" education in September. She mentioned the possibility of having professionals come in and speak to the kids about different renewable energy technologies, as well as basic education in the classrooms.

"Now with the solar sign, the kids have something they can see and touch (to go along with lessons)," Quinn said.

Quinn also said that FORM and Bonarigo would like to put the students in charge of the sign when the next school year starts. Right now, Bonarigo controls what words appear on the sign from her laptop computer; in September, they hope to give the kids more input into the way words appear and change.

At Robert Morris, going green also involves lots of landscape planting on school grounds. Here are some pictures of new trees and bushes that have been put in already: 

FORM chair Lorie Reinhart came up with the idea for this project early in the 2008-2009 school year after looking online and reading about an education grant offered by Lowe's.

"We wanted to do something different," Quinn said. "We wanted to actually try to do something that a lot of schools talk about but never get around to doing."

Reinhart and Quinn wrote the grant proposal along with co-secretary Michelle Turnbull. In response to FORM's request, Lowe's granted the school $5,000 for the solar sign.

The project also received funding from the New York State Power Authority -- which was unprecedented, since NYSPA does not, as a rule, give money to schools. But the NYSPA president was so intrigued by the idea that he contributed $5,000 to the project.

Seven or eight local businesses also donated money to the purchase of the sign. Quinn said that the total cost came to about $18,000.

In addition to being a valuable educational venture, Quinn sees the construction of the sign as a grassroots effort to promote renewable energy, which she calls "the way of the future."

FORM wanted to make this as locally focused an effort as possible. The sign was produced by LeRoy-based Unitech Applications, in collaboration with XPress Signs and Agile Displays.

If you would like more information on the solar-powered digital sign or the "Going Green" project, see the FORM webpage for contact information.

Harnessing the sun and wind for coffee and canines

By Loren Penman

 Last year on, you may have read about Dick Gammell of Canadice Construction Corp. and his efforts to make his construction company more cost effective, more independent, and more environmentally friendly by developing a wind/ solar generator that powers hand tools and small pieces of equipment at work sites.  His idea has gotten lots of press in the past 12 months, including news stories on Binghamton, Buffalo and Rochester TV stations, an article in the “Industry News” section of The Rhode Island Builders Report, a front page story in The Journal of Light Construction -- in all, 11 pieces.  You even can see the generator in action on YouTube! 

Now Dick has some new ventures (that you may hear about first right here).

On Saturday, June 6th, western New York’s original off-grid cafe opened in Springwater.  Theresa’s Sunshine Cafe is located at 8148 South Main Street, across from the fire hall, and is open Tuesday - Friday, 6:00 AM - 2:00 PM and for breakfast only on the week-end (closed Monday).  Every part of the Sunshine Cafe is electrified solely by the sun and the wind!  While customers enjoy a solar cup of coffee, they can recharge their electric vehicles!  (see photo)


Canadice Construction also is playing a unique role in this year’s Rochester Homerama which opens Saturday, July 11th at Somerset Hill in Victor.  Eight members of the Rochester Homebuilders’ Association, including Dick, will exhibit their “barkitecture” -- stylish and creative doghouses which will be auctioned off to benefit Lollypop Farm.  Dick’s contribution, called The Big Green Dog House, is a fully insulated doggie condo and short-term, back-up green power generator all in one!  Built with power tools electrified completely from the sun and wind, The Big Green Dog House is constructed with recycled lumber and has an outdoor outlet for human convenience.  Of course, it has excellent curb appeal!  (see photo)

Dick Gammell and Canadice Construction continue to demonstrate innovation and efficiency in energy consumption.  To learn more, head to the company website:

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