by Emily Russell, Adirondack Reporter, in Whallonsburg, NY

Last Saturday, a little crowd formed outside the Whallonsburg Grange, a big, red barn-like building

“Good morning everybody,” said Ken Hughes, town supervisor of Essex, which includes the hamlet of Whallonsburg. “On behalf of the town board, I’d like to say welcome to Whallonsburg, lovely beautiful Whallonsburg and Happy Earth Day!”

Hughes and others marked Earth Day by unveiling the town’s first-ever solar installation. There are now 38 solar panels on the roof of the grange, a historic building that dates back to 1915.

Essex town supervisor Ken Hughes shows NYS Assemblyman Matt Simpson the energy produced by the solar panels on the grange. Photo: Emily Russell

“This was a challenging install,” admitted Stan Dobert, owner of Apex Solar. “We were so nervous about touching the roof.”

Still, a crew from Apex got the job done and they did it in the middle of a snowstorm back in February. But Dobert said the real hurdle for a project like the one in Whallonsburg is funding. Since it’s a public project, the town of Essex had to offer a higher level of pay to the installers at Apex.

Hear the full story on North Country Public Radio.