Governor Andrew M. Cuomo announced last Friday 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 Cuomo's mandate for half of all electricity consumed to come from renewable energy sources by 2030.
"Clean, renewable energy is critical to combatting climate change and protecting our environment for current and future generations of New Yorkers," 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."
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 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.
"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 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.
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 Cuomo for his leadership in providing local municipalities with the tools they need to expand their use of renewable energy and become more resilient."