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Arnoff makes the move to clean energy

MILLERTON — A local company turned on its latest investment Wednesday.

It’s a solar-power rig that rests atop the sprawling warehouse of Arnoff Moving & Storage on Route 22.

The Poughkeepsie-based company has put about $525,000 into the project, but expects to recover part of it through grants from the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority and the rest of it over the long run by saving on electricity costs.

“We’re very, very excited about it,” said Michael Arnoff, president of the company.

The array of photovoltaic cells is capable of producing 96,000 watts, or 96 kilowatts. A typical house might have an average draw of a kilowatt.

“The Millerton building was the greatest place,” Arnoff said. “It’s a flat roof, a beautifully engineered roof, and it has no shade. It’s wide open.” He expects the system to provide about 75 percent of the building’s power.

Payback of the investment is expected to take 10 years, though that depends on what power from the grid costs, Arnoff said.

This building was bought in 2005 and the polluted property was subsequently remediated and removed from New York state’s registry of inactive waste disposal sites. The land was used by Taconic Products and K&E, and other manufacturers before.

Arnoff has sites in Poughkeepsie, Albany and Millerton plus one in Lakeville, Conn.

Arnoff said the “green” movement began to occupy management’s thoughts some years back.

“We really started to talk about the whole concept of going green and our carbon footprint,” he said.

Shifting to recycled packing materials was an early move. Then, trucks got a look, and so far, 20 percent of them have been replaced with ones having modern fuel-saving engines.

Then came the utility bills.

Arnoff’s wife, Lisa Arnoff, “looked at solar and wind, and solar kept winning out.”

They contracted with Rhinebeck-based Hudson Solar, also known as Hudson Valley Clean Energy, which recently finished the installation.

“Our community is very proud of Arnoff Moving & Storage for many reasons,” North East Town Supervisor John Merwin said. “First of all, Arnoff is setting an example of how a local business can help lead the way to energy self-sufficiency. Secondly, Arnoff is a great example of a successful business, which has maintained its local roots.”

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Among local officials attending were U.S. Rep. Chris Gibson, R-Kinderhook, and Dutchess County Executive Marc Molinaro.

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