Lockport Union-Sun & Journal Online

December 4, 2012

Business headed for Lockport Commons

By Joyce M. Miles
Lockport Union-Sun & Journal

Lockport Union-Sun & Journal — A Hertz car rental outlet should open at South Transit and Summit streets next year, after an approving Monday vote by the city planning board.

According to Benderson Development agent James Boglioli, Hertz wants to open a storefront in the plaza behind/west of the Rite Aid drug store building. Hertz would have up to 15 vehicles available for rent; the vehicles would be parked/stored perpendicular to Summit Street.

Hertz would be the first tenant of the building behind Rite-Aid; other tenants of Lockport Commons plaza are in the building south of the drug store. The Hertz store should open sometime this winter, Boglioli said.

Because Hertz would “store” vehicles outside, it needs a special use permit from the city to operate in a B-2 land zone. The Common Council will vote Wednesday whether to grant the permit.

In other business, the planning board OK’d a site plan by Pizza Oven owner-operator John Rinaldo to install a solar power system atop the business.

Rinaldo said the system consists of 37 solar panels, to be erected on the south side of the roof at 54 Vine St. Installation by Astrum Solar is set to begin Dec. 10.

Rinaldo said he’s investing about $53,000 in the system, inclusive of the cost of a new roof on the building, and qualifies for a $10,000 rebate from the state Energy Research and Development Authority. By his accountant’s projections, he said, the system should pay for itself and start generating a “return” for the business within six years.

Generally, solar systems work this way: Cells within the solar panels absorb sunlight, creating a direct current; the current is passed through an inverter, which turns it into AC power just like the utility companies deliver. On the spot, solar electricity is directed to lights, appliances and equipment that’s “on” during generation; and any excess power that’s not consumed is fed into the power grid.

The user — in this case Pizza Oven — stays connected to the grid, contributing or drawing power as needed, and its monthly electric bill is based on “net usage,” meaning the different between what it gave to and took from the grid. When the system generates more power than the business consumes, the business get credits on its account.

Pizza Oven’s solar system should cover 50 to 60 percent of its annual electric consumption, according to Rinaldo.