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SOLAR FARM: Broome County breaks ground in Conklin

Renovus Solar has completed its first jointly owned solar power project designed to generate electricity. The project, near Trumansburg and the first of its type in New York state, generates 350 kilowatts of electricity and powers 30 homes. (Photo: SIMON WHEELER / Staff Photo)

$4 million solar farm will cover 25 percent of Broome County's power demand. It will save more than $250,000 per year.

Broome County officials joined a SolarCity director during a groundbreaking ceremony for a solar farm Thursday in the Town of Conklin.

Construction on the solar farm will start next week, and it is scheduled to be completed and running by spring. The solar farm will be on a 20-acre property the county government purchased from the Broome County Industrial Development Agency for $100,000.

“This is a great location for the solar farm,” said Kevin McLaughlin, executive director of The Agency. “We’ve utilized space that would otherwise not be developed, and this project could serve as a catalyst for future solar development in Broome County.”

"Not only are we becoming more energy independent and producing power in an environmentally friendly way, we're also saving taxpayers money in the long term by reducing our energy bills," said Broome County Legislator Kelly Wildoner.

The county will partner with SolarCity, who will own the solar systems and is offering the county a power purchase agreement for no upfront cost. SolarCity will install and maintain the systems, while Broome County will pay less for the solar energy produced than it would for utility power.

“We’re excited to help the county switch to affordable solar energy and save it money at the same time,” said Dan Leary, director of SolarCity. “It’s a winning combination for the county, taxpayers and the environment.”

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