One day after state lawmakers banned single-use plastic bags, a new opportunity to use alternative energy is on the horizon for Greene and Columbia County residents.
Solstice, a renewable energy company with 21 solar projects up and down the East Coast, is working on a project in Ellenville that will serve the Twin Counties when it is completed.
The 3-megawatt solar farm on Frogland Road will serve 430 homes in Dutchess, Greene, Columbia and Ulster counties, Solstice Director of Marketing Andrew Alayza said Tuesday. The project is expected to be completed by August.
Solstice will offer Central Hudson customers an alternative at a discounted rate, Alayza said.
“We offer a 10 percent discount that is guaranteed in our contract,” Alayza said.
“We’re excited to bring our solar and energy bill savings to Central Hudson, and in a format that’s more accessible than ever for renters and underserved communities,” Solstice Co-founder & CEO Steph Speirs said in a statement last week.
Solstice is not affiliated with Central Hudson, Alayza said.
Solstice's business partner, ForeFront Power, the developer, pays Central Hudson an interconnection fee to connect community solar farms to the grid, Alayza said.
“Central Hudson delivers the electricity to people’s houses," he said. "It’s the reason why it’s all possible.”
Central Hudson representatives did not return requests for comment by press time.
The Ellenville location became ideal for the project because it is a brownfield, Alayza said.
“The location was chosen because it is not active farmland,” he said. “It is not very fertile and the older landowners were not getting much use out of it.”
The 13-acre tract of land will soon be home to 8,000 solar panels, Alayza said.
ForeFront Power acquired the land and helped the owners to gain some reward from an otherwise lost investment, Alayza said.
“ForeFront works on building the projects and Solstice deals with customer education and helping customers enroll,” Alayza said.
Solstice and similar companies have to take advantage of the critical time frame they are in, Alayza said, referring to Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s plan to make the state more environmentally friendly.
Other similar power-connection solar projects by Solstice include Holliston, Massachusetts; Dover, Massachusetts; Laurens, New York; Callicoon, New York; Barre, Massachusetts; Baldwin, New York; Uxbridge, Massachusetts; and Plympton, Massachusetts.
“Climate change is a reality, and the consequences of delay are a matter of life and death. We know what we must do,” Cuomo said in a statement in January. “Now we have to have the vision, the courage, and the competence to get it done. While the federal government shamefully ignores the reality of climate change and fails to take meaningful action, we are launching the first-in-the-nation Green New Deal to seize the potential of the clean energy economy, set the nation’s most ambitious goal for carbon-free power and ultimately eliminate our entire carbon footprint.”
The governor’s Green New Deal requires the state to be 100 percent carbon-free by 2040.