Energy Use, Energy Efficiency and Energy Sources

Energy Efficiency

How can you reduce your energy use?

One great way to get started is to get a home energy audit through the New York State Research and Development authority (NYSERDA) Home Performance with Energy Star® program. Sign up for a free, or reduced-cost, home energy assessment and receive a comprehensive report with energy savings recommendations. Most New Yorkers qualify for the free assessment and are under no obligation to install the recommended home energy improvements. There are also incentives and financing options for middle and low income families and no-cost services for low income households.

NYSERDA also offers some energy-saving tips for homeowners.

Renewable Energy: Solar

Solar Information Resources

NYSERDA’s NY-Sun initiative has an abundance of information on both rooftop and community solar.

  • Solar for All: A NYSERDA program and NY-Sun initiative, Solar for All will help low income New Yorkers receive the benefits of solar power with no upfront costs, fees or payments. Check out this link to learn more and see if you qualify to save money on your electric bill today! Solar for All is a NYSERDA program.

    • Program participants save money through a free community solar subscription
    • Participants gain access to solar whether they are a renter or a homeowner
    • No upfront cost, fees, or payments to participate
  • Solarize Albany is a nonprofit organization that serves the Capital Region. They promote the use of renewable energy (both rooftop and community solar) by providing you with knowledge of how renewable energy will benefit your life and lower cost options through their bulk purchase model.

What is community solar?


Solar ArrayCommunity solar can take a variety of forms, but often
employs a shared solar model, with a local solar facility that is shared by multiple community members who receive credit on their electricity bills for their share of the power produced. Community solar expands solar access to those typically lacking such access including those whose roof exposure is not suitable, renters, those in multi-tenant buildings, and low-income communities. Read more here.

Click here to view NYSERDA‘s complete list of community solar projects in our area.

Solar Energy Efforts in Saratoga Springs

  • Community Choice Aggregation (CCA) is a new bulk electricity buying program for residents and small businesses. Fourteen municipalities, including Saratoga Springs, are joining together to negotiate an excellent rate/terms for electricity for their residents & small businesses, including a renewable energy option. Some of the benefits of CCA include:

    • Better electric rates
    • Price stability and budget certainty
    • Access to 100% renewable “green” electricity
    • Protection from predatory practices of energy companies

    It’s our hope that through the increased buying power made possible by joining the Capital District CCA program, the City of Saratoga Springs will be offered a 100% renewable energy supply option that is economically competitive with current default energy supply offered to National Grid customers.
    Check out our webinar on the CCA here.

  • Sustainable Saratoga’s Climate and Energy Committee was instrumental in initiating the Solarize Saratoga program. We worked with the City’s Climate Smart Committee, which was the lead agency, serving as a community partner through promoting and supporting the program. About 30 installations were completed as part of this initiative, which is no longer active.
  • To learn more about Solarize programs, click here to view the Solarize Guidebook from the U.S. Department of Energy.
  • Spa Solar Park - Aerial View

    Aerial view of the Spa Solar Park on Weibel Avenue

    Spa Solar Park on Weibel Avenue. With the assistance of Sustainable Saratoga, the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) and Onyx Renewable Partners completed a 2.5 megawatt solar installation at Saratoga Springs’ Weibel Avenue landfill. As of July 2018, the 7,992-panel solar installation has generated 1,788 MWh of electricity. Its capacity factor—the ratio of energy generated over a time period divided by the installed capacity—is currently 10.5%, up from 3.4% when it began generating electricity in 2017. For the most recent data on this solar installation, check here. The project offsets Saratoga’s municipal electricity use and is expected to eventually meet approximately 40% of the municipality’s power needs, while additionally offsetting more than 2,000 tons of carbon dioxide annually. Read more here.

Renewable Energy: Geothermal and Heat Pumps

Did you know that almost 75% of the energy use in a typical New York home is energy used for heating and cooling! More efficient heating and cooling can make a big difference for your wallet and for the climate!

HeatSmart Capital Region is a community initiative funded by NYSERDA and managed by the Capital District Regional Planning Commission (CDRPC). The goal of the program is to support residents and businesses to explore new, more efficient ways to improve how they heat and cool their buildings.

The HeatSmart Capital Region campaign connects you to local heating and cooling experts who offer the latest in energy efficient technology, such as geothermal systems, air source heat pumps, and hot water heat pumps. If you are considering a new heating or cooling system, are interested in finding out how to save energy in your home or small business, or simply wondering what you can do to help reduce your carbon footprint, then this campaign is for you!

Want to learn more? This link to the HeatSmart website takes you to a page filled with information about the different types of heat pumps.

Did you know that you can select your energy provider and choose where your energy comes from?

Here is what you need to know about New York State energy service regulations.

New York opened its state electric and natural gas industries to competition in the 1990s, giving consumers the opportunity to choose their energy provider, either through a traditional utility or a third-party supplier known as an Energy Services Company (ESCO). ESCOs are entities that are eligible to sell electricity and natural gas to customers using the transmission or distribution system of a utility. All ESCOs must complete an application process with the state before they are certified to serve customers.

Consumers are not required to switch to an ESCO and it is unlawful for your energy supplier to be switched without your approval. Some consumers may consider switching to a ESCO because they are competing for business and thus may offer a wider variety of products and pricing options to appeal to consumers. For example, some ESCOs offer value-added services such as the opportunity to purchase electricity from a renewable energy source, including hydropower, solar, or wind.
To learn more about ESCOs and your rights as a consumer, read more here.
For a full listing of ESCOs available in your area, look here.
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