Energy costs are a big expense for New York farms, and figuring out how to reduce energy consumption through new energy efficiency and renewable technologies can be daunting. But now farms can get a roadmap to energy savings by taking advantage of a limited offer from the New York State Energy Research & Development Authority (NYSERDA). NYSERDA is now offering farms and on-farm producers free energy audits that provide recommendations for energy efficiency measures and renewable energy through the Agriculture Energy Audit Program (AEAP). These free audits are available on a first-come, first-serve basis until the end of 2017.
Finding out what can be done to reduce energy consumption is the first step. Once you have your roadmap, Energize NY PACE financing can make recommended energy improvements affordable and cost effective. Energize NY can finance up to 100% of the cost of recommended energy improvements over long terms up to 20 years at affordable interest rates. Unlike traditional loan products, Energize NY PACE finance is repaid through an annual tax on the property tax bill which automatically transfers in the event that the farm is sold. Eligibility for PACE financing is not based on the standard credit measures, but rather on the property’s value and potential for energy savings. PACE finance is available for commercially owned properties in municipalities that have joined Energize NY. It is currently available in 7 counties in NY in the Mid-Hudson, Southern Tier, Mohawk Valley and Long Island.
The free energy audit typically evaluates the efficiency of lighting, motors, pumps, dairy milking equipment, ventilation, and refrigeration and can include cost benefit evaluation for installation of renewable energy as well. The program is open to all types of farms and on-farm producers, including but not limited to: dairies, orchards, greenhouses, vegetables, vineyards, grain dryers, maple and poultry/egg.
New York farms can choose from three audits, based on their needs (if interested in solar plus new LED lighting and air sealing for instance, choose 2 and 3):
Level 1: The walk-through energy audit provides a summary letter with limited evaluation of energy efficiency measures. This level is ideal for smaller operations with minimal energy use or for quick assessments.
Level 2: This detailed energy audit analyzes the farm’s previous year’s utility bills along with equipment specifications and run-time information. This information is used to calculate estimated energy savings for energy efficiency upgrades. The comprehensive audit report provides a list of recommended measures with associated energy and cost savings and anticipated payback. This energy audit is the most popular choice for farms.
Level 3: This energy audit is focused on a specific complex energy system or renewable energy production. This report is ideal for operations with a complex system to be analyzed beyond standard energy efficiency upgrades, or if the farm is interested in pursuing renewable energy.
Once an audit report is complete, EnSave (the program implementer on behalf of NYSERDA), assists the farm with selecting the most appropriate measures to implement and with accessing financing for the improvements, such as Energize NY PACE Finance, as well as applicable incentives and assistance through electric and gas utilities and the federal government.
Fill out an application now for your free energy audit here or call 800-732-1399.
Then find out how much Energize NY PACE financing your farm qualifies for by filing out a quick Energize NY pre-application.
*Eligible farms include those that pay a Systems Benefit Charge (SBC) line on their utility bill, which excludes farms located in Long Island and farms that belong to electric co-ops.