It’s a good time to be in the solar industry in Western New York.
A stable regulatory environment at the federal and state levels, fast-improving technology that improves the cost structure of individual deals and increasing awareness about the financial benefits of solar panels all contribute to that, says Daniel Montante, president and founder of Montante Solar.
The private company, a full-service installer of solar energy systems, saw its business double in an extremely busy 2016, officials said. What’s more, the local market for solar installations has shown a diversity, with a mix of projects in various Buffalo neighborhoods and its suburbs. Meanwhile, the company has been busy on jobs that range from private commercial customers to municipalities and school districts.
Montante Solar is currently adding rooftop solar to 30 Buffalo City School District buildings, which will generate approximately 25 percent of the electricity for those buildings.
“Locally, there is a recognition that solar projects work,” Montante said. “Not only do they deliver the electricity savings people talk about all the time, but from a capital investment perspective, they deliver very favorable financial returns in a relatively short period of time.”
Montante can even foresee a time when solar projects make financial sense without government subsidies as technological advances drive down the cost of projects. For now, installations make use of a 30 percent federal tax credit and generally favorable New York state policies regarding renewable energy.
The company is up to 30 employees, along with a variety of regular subcontractors. Montante said he expects it to grow in several ways, including as a contractor for the New York Power Authority to build solar projects throughout the state. Montante Solar is also set this year to debut the concept of community solar, where a company builds a large solar installation and allows homeowners and renters who don’t have their own projects to buy into it. A pilot project at Riverview Solar Technology Park in Tonawanda is currently waiting for final approval.
Originally published by Dan Miner in Buffalo Business First on January 20, 2017