Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo, D-N.Y., has announced the completion of the largest community solar project in Tompkins County, N.Y.
In total, 373 households – as well as a local church, Our Lady of Good Counsel in Endicott – are benefiting from the 2.3 MW project, which is located in the town of Enfield in Upstate New York.
The project supports Cuomo’s mandate for half of all electricity consumed to come from renewable energy sources by 2030. It also complements Southern Tier Soaring, the region’s comprehensive strategy to generate economic growth and community development.
“Clean, renewable energy is critical to combating climate change and protecting our environment for current and future generations of New Yorkers,” the governor says. “With the addition of this community solar project, we are continuing our commitment to a green future and to a more resilient, affordable energy grid.”
The solar array was developed by BlueRock Solar and Renovus Solar. BlueRock is also handling customer acquisition and service, along with the monthly interface with NYSEG, the local utility company. The project is owned by New Energy Equity.
“Since the community solar project is a subscription-style project, it provides the easiest and cheapest way for customers to go solar, as there is no upfront payment required to join,” comments Michael L. Francis, BlueRock Solar’s general manager. “There is no credit check, customers sign a contract for as short as one year, and with the project being net-metered, we provide discounts to utility supply and delivery rates. It is a tremendous program benefiting both the environment and our customers.”
Community solar – one of many initiatives under Cuomo’s $1 billion NY-Sun program – increases access to solar in areas where residents may not own property or have ideal conditions to install solar panels by enabling them to subscribe to a local project. Once households and businesses subscribe, energy is still delivered through their regular electric provider while the power produced from the community solar array is fed directly back to the electric grid. As a result, the grid is supplied with clean, renewable energy, and subscribers receive a credit on their electric bills. NY-Sun is administered by the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA).
“Community solar projects are becoming increasingly popular for the very simple reason that they provide access to clean energy to those who may not have the right location or resources to install panels on their rooftops,” notes Alicia Barton, president and CEO of NYSERDA. “I applaud the Tompkins County residents who have joined together to lower their energy costs and reduce carbon emissions in support of Governor Cuomo’s clean energy agenda.”