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Arnoff goes solar in Millerton

Congressman Chris Gibson (N.Y., 20th) and Dutchess County Executive Marc Molinaro, among a swarm of other elected officials and businessmen, joined Michael Arnoff to flip the switch on what is now the largest solar farm in the Hudson Valley, at Arnoff Moving and Storage’s Millerton Warehouse last Wednesday morning.

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Gibson had the honor of flipping the switch after a succession of speeches starting with Michael Arnoff, the company president, and ending with Gibson, who was introduced by Molinaro.  He did so without much drama before he began his talk praising the project.

Creating the new 96-kilowatt solar farm is the biggest effort by Arnoff’s company to “go green” and switch to solar power. Unfortunately for the onlookers, there was not much sunlight, if any, on Wednesday morning, so there was not much to behold after the switch was flipped by Gibson.

Arnoff explained how the project came about.  He related that the company is an 88-year family business that started in 1924. When Arnoff bought this particular site location in 2005, it was a brownfield.  According to a press release from the company, it was formerly a Taconic Products/K&E site. After the site cleanup, it has now been removed from the New York State Registry of Inactive Waste Disposal Sites.

Arnoff partnered with Salisbury Bank and Hudson Solar to make the project possible. According to the press release, Hudson Solar is a “full-service solar electric, geo-thermal, and solar hot water provider specializing in the design, installation and servicing of renewable energy systems.” Hudson Solar  contracted with Sun Power, whose solar cells hold the world record in efficiency at 22.4 percent.

The ambitious project is a step in the right direction for where New York is supposedly heading, according to Governor Andrew Cuomo’s New York Sun Initiative. The Initiative states that solar power in New York will be doubled by 2012 and tripled by 2013.

Arnoff introduced solar energy to Millerton to reduce its carbon footprint, but it works out financially as well. With the new tax-credit incentives by the federal government, “the system will pay for itself in the first few years and then it will provide income for the business after that.”

Molinaro and Gibson not only had praise for the Arnoff family and the new solar farm but took time to talk about the economy and what businesses like this could do for job growth. They mentioned that with 250 employees, Arnoff has grown from a small business to a big business for this area.

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