Conklin, NY – Broome County Executive Debbie Preston joined members of the Broome County Legislature, Kevin McLaughlin from the Agency and Dan Leary from SolarCity to break ground on a brand new solar farm in the Town of Conklin.
“Solar power is something I’ve been interested in for quite a long time,” says Broome County Executive Debbie Preston. “We will be saving the taxpayers money and it won’t cost them anything.”
"This project is a win-win for Broome County residents," says Broome County Legislator Kelly Wildoner. "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. I'm glad to see this project moving forward in our community."
The solar farm will be placed on a 20 acre piece of land in Conklin, which the County purchased from the Agency for a small price.
“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.”
The two solar systems, which are together 5.5 megawatts, will be used to power different buildings in the County. Solar power is expected to cover about 25 percent of County Department’s power demand and could save more than $250,000 per year compared to traditional energy costs.
It’s estimated the solar farm will save County taxpayers $4 million over the next 20 years.
“The state keeps asking us to come up with ways to create more revenue,” says Preston. “We have decided to come up with ways that cut costs to our taxpayers, and this solar farm will do just that.”
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 simply pass less for the solar energy produced than it would utility power.
“We’re excited to help the County switch to affordable solar energy and save it money at the same time,” says Dan Leary, Director of SolarCity. “It’s a winning combination for the County, taxpayers and the environment.”
Construction will begin next week and the County hopes to have this up and running by Spring 2017.