Terry Galanis Jr. thought Sealing Devices’ first foray into solar power went so well that he’s quadrupling the Lancaster manufacturer’s commitment to green energy.
Sealing Devices last week started work on a second solar energy system at its Lancaster factory and headquarters, 4400 Walden Ave. The project will install a solar energy system on the roof of its Lancaster facility that will be capable of generating 250 kilowatts of solar power.
“It will give us about 25 percent of our power needs, at current capacity,” said Terry Galanis Jr., the company’s president.
The new array will vastly expand the amount of green power generated from the much smaller, 50-kilowatt system that Sealing Devices installed two years ago with help from federal incentive programs. Galanis said the results from the smaller system have exceeded his expectations.
“It’s been very good,” he said. “We’ve done a little better with the sun than originally projected. The sun has been pretty good to us.”
The new solar energy system, believed to be the largest in development at a manufacturing company in Western New York, is expected to be ready to begin operation by the end of September. Sealing Devices is partnering on the project with Montante Solar, a Buffalo-based installer of commercial and residential solar energy systems.
Galanis said he expects the new array to pay for itself within five years, with an expected life span of 25 years.
He said the solar projects have helped Sealing Devices, which makes seals, O-rings, gaskets and electromagnetic interference shielding, hold down its costs and help it remain competitive.
“I’m a fan of investment. I’m a fan of reducing costs,” Galanis said. He estimated that the project could reduce the company’s power costs by about 25 percent.
The latest expansion is being financed partly through a grant Sealing Devices received in March from the state’s NY-Sun initiative. Neither the company nor a spokeswoman for the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority would say how much money the firm received because NY-Sun is a competitive program. Under the initiative, installers bid on projects, which NYSERDA then evaluates based on its potential effectiveness and the value it offers ratepayers, said Dayle E. Zatlin, a spokeswoman for the state agency.
The state funding supplements private investment that averages about twice as much as the incentive. Funding is capped at $3 million per project.
Excess power produced by the solar array that is not used by Sealing Devices will be sold into the overall power grid. “It’s also going to help take some stress off the grid at a very critical location,” Zatlin said.
Sealing Devices, which has 170 employees, received its grant for the solar power system through a round of funding this spring that saw the state award $46 million to 28 entities that were planning 76 separate projects in 33 counties across New York. The NY-Sun program is aimed at encouraging the development of solar power systems for one-site use.