Albany County executives, the New York Power Authority (NYPA) and other project partners broke ground on September 5 on the site of the county’s first major solar PV ground-mount array on five acres of county property in the town of Colonie. The 2.1-MW solar farm was awarded to Siemens, the project developer selected through a competitive bid process. The solar project will be owned and operated by Calibrant Energy, a joint venture between Siemens and the financial services company Macquarie Group.
The county will purchase the nearly 2.6 million kWh of clean, renewable electricity generated by the farm each year and be reimbursed for the power generated on county property, which is projected to benefit county tax payers in the long-term. The project has received the approval of the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), which has a radar tower on the site. Construction is expected to be complete in 2024.
“As we break ground on our first major solar project, I’m proud that Albany County continues on its path to becoming the greenest county in New York State. Once complete, this solar farm will be able to replace the equivalent carbon emissions of 252 homes and through this partnership with NYPA, we will ultimately save tax dollars on electricity costs,” said Albany County Executive McCoy.
The Power Authority’s Distributed Energy Resources Advisory Services team, serving as Albany County’s advisor, helped the county assess potential project sites and developed, issued and evaluated the competitive bidding process. The team will continue to provide guidance and oversight throughout the development of the project.
Work will begin with site preparation, including the removal of the invasive black locust trees on the site. There will be a one-to-one tree replacement, and native pollinators will be planted onsite to enhance the green intent of the project.
“Calibrant is excited to begin construction on this solar project that will deliver tangible economic and environmental benefits to the Albany County community,” said Thomas Biddinger, director of partnerships at Calibrant Energy, the long term financing partner and operator for the project. “Our Energy-as-a-Service model delivers flexible financing to help partners like Albany County achieve their sustainability goals while delivering long-term budget certainty for local officials and taxpayers alike.”
One of the additional benefits of siting the solar array on Watervliet Shaker Road is the development of an educational program for students at the Capital Region BOCES and local schools. Through this partnership, students will be able to participate in project construction and maintenance of the solar array and monitor the site in real-time.
“This project will provide students at Capital Region BOCES first-hand experience in the construction, installation and maintenance process for this technology, in turn gaining valuable work-based experience in the field,” said Joe Dragone, senior executive officer, Capital Region BOCES. “Further integrating the use of real time data and energy systems from this project will support the knowledge and technical training that our students receive in the classroom.”
A State Environmental Quality Review Act (SEQR) for this solar project was conducted last year and a number of public hearings followed last spring.
News item from the New York Power Authority