Commercial Solar Guy, a New England-based solar power construction, consulting, and development company, signed a deal to deliver a portfolio of 101 MW of community solar projects in upstate New York.
To complete the 101 MW solar portfolio, Commercial Solar Guy is seeking 16 MWdc more of capacity across about three projects, or about another 50 to 75 acres of land. The company has already leased or purchased 85 MW worth of land, or about 360 acres.
Four of the projects, totaling 30 MW, will be constructed on former brownfields. While the company is not specifically seeking more brownfield land, New York offers incentives for brownfield solar projects. Depending on the necessary mitigation, the company reports that it may be able to offer a higher dollar amount for brownfield land.
In a Cornell University report titled “Are big and small solar separate things?: The importance of scale in public support for solar energy development in upstate New York”, researchers demonstrated that support for solar generally decreases when system size and site location are considered, unless the project is situated on landfills.
John Fitzgerald Weaver, owner of Commercial Solar Guy, says that this research has directly influenced the company’s site selection strategy.
The community solar projects are part of New York state’s NY-Sun program, a solar incentive program launched in 2011 to support the development of distributed generation assets. The state has already deployed more than one hundred thousand small solar power projects, totaling over 3 GW. Commercial Solar Guy’s projects are included in the pipeline of another 3+ GW of projects currently in progress.
New York aims to achieve 10 GW of distributed solar by 2030, which includes 1.6 GW of new solar capacity to benefit disadvantaged communities. The state’s community solar program, regarded as one of the strongest in the country, allows households and businesses access to the environmental and economic benefits of solar electricity generation without needing to install panels on their properties.
Commercial Solar Guy’s community solar projects will serve the New York State Gas & Electric region, with the electricity being sold to individuals and businesses within the region.
These projects are expected to generate hundreds of thousands of dollars annually in lease payments to the landowners, amounting to nearly $15 million over the next 25 five years. The projects are also anticipated to generate millions of dollars in tax revenue for local towns throughout their 25- to 35-year lifetimes.
During the construction phase, the company expects to pay over $40 million to local electricians, machine operators, excavators, concrete teams, fence installers and specialist installers. An estimated $20 million will be allocated for upgrading the local power grid, improving its capacity to handle complex weather conditions and deliver resilient, distributed solar electricity generation to the local population. The company will also source a significant portion of materials locally, including fencing, wire, tools, engineering services, vehicles, steel, electronics, and more.
Landowners interested in leasing land for a solar farm may contact Commercial Solar Guy.
Full disclosure: John Fitzgerald Weaver, contributing writer to pv magazine USA, is the general manager and majority owner of Commercial Solar Guy.
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