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Freeport Fire Department gets solar power

Freeport Village officials on Monday unveiled a 50-kilowatt solar panel system at Freeport Fire Department headquarters, the first municipal building in the village to receive solar panels.

The solar panel will reduce the building’s annual electric cost by about 20 percent, a savings of more than $7,000 per year, officials said. The total emissions of the building — which operates 24 hours a day — also will be reduced, they said.

“There are many ways a municipality can go green and Freeport has instituted several steps to reduce its carbon footprint,” Mayor Andrew Hardwick said in a statement.

The village obtained the funding for the $355,027 project through the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority, which administered the U.S. Department of Energy's investment as part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009.

Island Park-based EmPower Solar, a solar energy engineering and installation company, was selected by the village earlier this year as part of a competitive bid process, officials said.

“The Village of Freeport’s commitment to renewable energy demonstrates that solar can dramatically reduce operating costs and our dependence on fossil fuels,” EmPower Solar chief executive David G. Schieren said in a statement.

The village also has purchased several hybrid vehicles, including a hybrid bucket truck for the electric utility and has replaced 350 streetlights with more energy-efficient lighting, officials said.

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