School and municipal solar project complete in New York State


Four individual ground-mount solar arrays that total 11.52MW were recently completed for members of the Tri-County Energy Consortium,  a New York-based intergovernmental cooperative of schools and municipalities created for the procurement of renewable energy generating facilities for its members. The solar installations, owned by Standard Solar, will serve 28 school districts and municipalities.

Some of the challenges during the installation included changes to New York’s solar policy, clean up on site, as well the pandemic. Before the installation could begin, a fairly significant cleanup took place on the land, which had been used to store cars, car parts, and other debris, according to Mark Richardson, CEO, U.S. Light Energy, the project’s developer.

“It wasn’t exactly a brownfield,” said Richardson, “but it required working with the landowner on a significant cleanup project.” The project took about five years to complete and in that time New York went through various changes in policy, compensation mechanisms, and more. Also this project is connected to a higher-than-normal voltage system, so that provided some additional challenges–but, working with National Grid, U.S. Light Energy was able to come up with “interesting and unique” solutions, Richardson said.

“This project’s success is underscored by the variety of challenges the team had to overcome,” said Mark Richardson,

The approximately $7.6 million project received more than $1 million in funding from the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) through NY-Sun, the state’s signature $1.8 billion initiative to advance the scale-up of solar and make solar energy more accessible to homes, businesses, and communities. Each participating school district and local government will receive savings on their electric bills in proportion to the percentage of electricity they use out of the total for all participants.

“Members of the Consortium will collectively save between $400-$500/K annually from the arrays,” said John Warneck, Executive Director of the Tri-County Energy Consortium.

The project moves New York one step closer to its goal of achieving 50% of the state’s electricity supply from renewable energy sources by 2030.

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