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Bete adds solar-electric capacity

GREENFIELD — Bete Fog Nozzle Inc. has installed a 146-kilowatt solar-electric array at its I-91 Industrial Park factory to generate about 15 percent of its electricity.

The system, which consists of 585 panels on a ground-mount system on a sand bank behind the factory, is an example of the renewable energy improvements businesses are using to take advantage of federal and state incentives as a way to cut utility costs, says Greg Garrison of Northeast Solar Associates of Hatfield, which recently installed the system.

The 62-year-old manufacturer of spray nozzles originally looked at installing a photovoltaic array in 2008 on its factory roof, said Purchasing Manager Paul French, but it rejected the idea because the roof would have had to be structurally reinforced and was already 20 years old. But the new system, which allows for future expansion, was installed smoothly and will probably yield a payback in four or five years, French said, because of federal and state tax credits as well as state renewable energy credits.

“It was just perfect timing, in terms of rebates,” said French. He said the company, with lots of manufacturing equipment running three shifts, including an electric-powered furnace as part of its foundry, will be able to feed back into the electric grid any power that it isn’t able to use.

Garrison said that in addition to tax credits, federal incentives allow businesses to depreciate 85 percent of the system costs over five years to speed payback.

The entire system, which fits in an area about 100 by 200 feet, will generate an estimated 173,200 kilowatt-hours of electricity a year.

You can reach Richie Davis at
or 413-772-0261, ext. 269

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