Governor Cuomo Announces the Completion of the Largest Community Solar Project in Tompkins County
373 Households Benefit from Town of Enfield's 2.3-Megawatt Solar Array
Supports Governor Cuomo's Mandate to Have Half of the State's Electricity Come from Renewable Resources by 2030
Complements "Southern Tier Soaring" - The Region's Comprehensive Strategy to Revitalize Communities and Grow the Economy
Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced that the largest community solar project in Tompkins County has been completed and is fully operational. Located in the Town of Enfield, 373 households, as well as a local church, are benefitting from the 2.3-megawatt solar array which supports Governor Cuomo's mandate for half of all electricity consumed to come from renewable energy sources by 2030. The project also complements "Southern Tier Soaring," the region's comprehensive strategy to generate robust economic growth and community development.
"Clean, renewable energy is critical to combatting climate change and protecting our environment for current and future generations of New Yorkers," Governor Cuomo said. "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."
"We're investing in clean and renewable energy initiatives across the state to reduce costs and protect the environment," said Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul. "This solar project in Tompkins County will provide electricity to hundreds of households and continue to grow the economy of the Southern Tier region. This project is further advancing our aggressive clean energy goals to ensure a clean and safe environment for future generations."
The solar array includes 6,804 solar panels on 13 acres. In addition to the 373 households, Our Lady of Good Counsel in Endicott has also subscribed to this community solar project. The 2.3-megawatt solar array will reduce greenhouse gases by 1,430 metric tons annually, the equivalent of removing 306 cars from the road.
Community solar projects—one of many initiatives under Governor Cuomo's $1 billion NY-Sun program—increase 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 community solar 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.
Richard Kauffman, Chairman of Energy and Finance for New York State, "Under Governor Cuomo's ambitious clean energy policies, New York has seen unprecedented growth in solar. Significant amounts of this progress are attributed to public-private partnerships and communities coming together to build solar projects where they are needed most while providing jobs and affordable and resilient clean energy across New York."
Alicia Barton, NYSERDA President and CEO said, "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. 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."
The solar array was developed by BlueRock Solar and Renovus Solar with BlueRock also handling customer acquisition and service, along with the monthly interface with NYSEG, the local utility company. It is owned by New Energy Equity.
Michael L. Francis BlueRock Solar General Manager said, "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. 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 benefitting both the environment and our customers."
Joe Sliker, President, Renovus Solar, said, "It was a pleasure to work with the team at BlueRock, NYSERDA's project representatives, and all the talented engineers on both side of the table to bring this project online. Renovus' goal has always been to bring solar power to the masses, and every watt of solar power we develop with partners like BlueRock help bring New York closer to its energy infrastructure goals."
Matthew Hankey, President of New Energy Equity said, "We are very excited to have partnered with Blue Rock on our first New York community solar garden. New York has been a strong market for us for schools and municipalities. It's great to be able to add residential subscribers into our portfolio now as well. Hopefully, this will be the first of many such projects for us."
Senator Tom O'Mara, Chair of the Senate Environmental Conservation Committee, said, "As New York State continues to move forward on developing and utilizing renewable energy, this project's completion represents a significant step forward for hundreds of households in Tompkins County."
Assemblymember Barbara Lifton said, "I'm glad to see this new solar array in the Town of Enfield. Projects such as this one are proof positive that solar power is both practical and cost-effective and this project will continue the momentum of expanding the use of renewable energy in New York. I applaud the Governor and NYSERDA for advancing Community Solar and encourage all the efforts to increase the number of these solar and other clean energy projects in order to get us to our goals."
Tompkins County Legislature Chair Martha Robertson said, "This community solar project is enabling residents to benefit from clean energy and support our continued sustainability efforts in Tompkins County. We are grateful to Governor Cuomo for his leadership in providing local municipalities with the tools they need to expand their use of renewable energy and become more resilient."
NY-Sun is Governor Cuomo's $1 billion initiative to advance the scale-up of solar and move the State closer to having a sustainable, self-sufficient solar industry. Since 2011, solar in New York State has increased more than 1,000 percent, leveraged nearly $2.8 billion in private investments and has more than 12,000 people engaged in solar jobs across the state.
More than 84,000 solar installations have been supported by NYSERDA throughout New York State to date, with over 5,004 projects currently in the pipeline, including 700 megawatts of Community Solar. In 2018, through June, New York was ranked third nationally in residential and non-residential solar installed. In addition, during the months of July and August 2018, New York completed 80 megawatts of solar projects - the highest amount completed in two months in the state's history.
Accelerating Southern Tier Soaring
Today's announcement complements "Southern Tier Soaring," the region's comprehensive blueprint to generate robust economic growth and community development. The state has already invested more than $4.6 billion in the region since 2012 to lay the groundwork for the plan - attracting a talented workforce, growing business and driving innovation. Today, unemployment is down to the lowest levels since before the Great Recession; personal and corporate income taxes are down; and businesses are choosing places like Binghamton, Johnson City and Corning as a destination in which to grow and invest. Now, the region is accelerating Southern Tier Soaring with a $500 million State investment through the Upstate Revitalization Initiative, announced by Governor Cuomo in December 2015. The State's $500 million investment will incentivize private business to invest well over $2.5 billion - and the region's plan, as submitted, projects up to 10,200 new jobs. More information is available here.