As originally published on

Sunshine in Central New York isn’t always easy to come by, especially during the winter months thanks to the shorter days and more extensive cloud cover. So, one may think, how could investing or purchasing solar panels be cost effective during the winter season.

Ed Michalenko, DeWitt Town Supervisor, explains how even with the climate we have in CNY using solar energy is paying dividends for the town of DeWitt since they started using the over 7,000 solar panel farm on September 24th, 2020.

“It generates 2.6 megawatts of electricity and that covers all of the town of DeWitt’s electric needs and that includes all of our buildings, our streetlights, our facilities such as sewer and water pumps. The town is completely free of fossil fuels for its electric needs.”

Thanks to the sheer number of solar panels on the farm, the demand of electricity is covered even during the darker months of November, December and January. In addition to the clouds and shorter days, plenty of snowfall doesn’t have a big impact either because of the steep angle and dark coloring of the panels themselves.

According to Ed, since they started using the solar farm the town of DeWitt’s electric bills have dropped 10 to 15%! Now residents in the town of DeWitt are not receiving energy via the solar farm yet, but they are saving money already! How much? Ed says the annual percentage of savings for the town’s taxpayers varies.

“The percentages vary because of on an annual basis…because the payback on the facility is greatest at the beginning and at the end of the 20-year period. So, it can range from 15 to 7 percent savings on an annual basis.”

Not too shabby of a yearly savings for the town of DeWitt taxpayer! I’d say it’s a win-win! Saving money, while using clean energy right here in CNY! DeWitt, taking the lead with its consumption of renewable/green energy and will serve as a good model for other CNY communities to do the same in the future.

Speaking of saving money, back in 1977, solar panels were cost prohibitive, but since the late 70s the price of the solar panels have dropped 99%! It’s now the fossil fuel projects that are not cost efficient!

Here’s a very interesting tid bit for you. If 30 percent of homes in New York State had solar panels on their rooftops, there would be enough electricity to power the entire state of New York!!

Ed likes to use this quote about how he’s hoping future generations view fossil fuels…”I want the next generation, my grandchildren and great grandchildren to view burning fossil fuels, like we view using horses for transportation.”

Let’s hope Ed’s wishes come true not only for Central New York, but the globe as a whole too in the coming years!

As originally published on

About RER Energy Group
RER Energy Group is an industry leader in providing cost-effective, high-quality solar systems throughout the United States and Latin America. The company has developed more than 55 megawatts of solar energy, obtaining over $30 million in grant proceeds for commercial, industrial, agricultural, municipal, and non-profit customers. For more information, visit

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