Middlesex, New York – March 11, 2019 – Another community solar farm serving NYSEG customers plans to break ground this Friday in the heart of the Finger Lakes.
The project, to be built on land owned by Jeanette Daum in Middlesex, New York, will produce enough electricity for about 650 average sized homes.
“We are proud to bring community solar to the Finger Lakes,” said Jeffrey Mayer, CEO of Solar Farms NY. “The Middlesex Solar Farm will provide decades of clean, renewable energy to one of the country’s most pristine regions,” he added.
Mayer said that the solar farm would be built on about 22.5 acres located on Town Line Road in Yates County between Rushville and Middlesex.
According to Noah Siegel, Project Manager for Solar Farms New York, over 14,700 panels will be installed in a little over six months. When connected to the NYSEG grid, the panels will produce some 6,500 Megawatt hours of electricity per year, enough to serve 650 homes.
Mayer explained that under New York State rules the solar electricity produced by the Middlesex farm will go directly into the NYSEG grid. “All NYSEG customers benefit from more renewable energy production,” he said, “but only our members will enjoy savings.”
Under New York’s community solar program, the farms sell their electricity to NYSEG which will in turn put credits on customer bills. Customers will then pay Solar Farms New York for their electricity.
Solar Farms New York will bill customers 95% of the value of the credits they receive from NYSEG, resulting in a 5% savings on their solar credits. Customers who sign up now will also receive a $50 VISA gift card as a membership reward.
The community solar project will also benefit local governmental entities in the form of payments in lieu of property taxes. Approximately $740,000 will be paid to the Town of Middlesex, Yates County and the Gorham Middlesex Central School District over the life of the project.
The groundbreaking is scheduled for March 15 at 2 pm at 4450 Town Line Road in Rushville, on the edge of the farm property. Brief remarks are expected from Middlesex dignitaries, Yates County officials, as well as Frank Mace, Senior Project Manager of the New York State Energy Research and Development Agency and a key player in financing community solar on the Southern Tier.
Elected officials and staff members of the Town of Middlesex, Yates County and the Finger Lakes Economic Development Center will be recognized for their support for the project from the earliest planning and engineering stages to more recent construction and interconnection with NYSEG.
After the event guests are invited to attend an informal gathering sponsored by Solar Farms NY at the Twisted Rail Brewing Company at 169 Lakeshore Drive in Canandaigua. Solar Farms NY has invited attendees as well as over 100 local residents who have already joined the farms.
Homeowners and renters who wish to join the solar farms can bring their utility bills to the ceremony and receive help in enrolling.
“We are excited to be working with the Town of Middlesex and Yates County officials to help achieve the state’s goal to produce 100% of its electricity from renewable energy by 2040,” said Jeffrey Mayer, CEO of Solar Farms New York, the company marketing the farm’s electricity to homeowners in Yates County. “What’s more, we will be doing it with 100% New York sunshine.”
According to Mayer, construction is expected to be completed by the Fall with members receiving credits from NYSEG shortly after that.
The Middlesex groundbreaking is the second such event this month for Solar Farms NY which earlier celebrated the launch of the Cascadilla Community Solar Farm at Cornell University, a 125-acre project in Dryden, New York that will produce enough solar electricity for over 3,000 homes.
Close to 2,000 homeowners have already signed up for the company’s community solar programs in upstate New York, Mayer said. The Middlesex project is among Solar Farms NY’s 40 solar farms throughout the state which will begin to supply solar electricity to NYSEG in 2019.
“Community solar is a viable alternative to rooftop solar which can be costly to build, costly to maintain, and be unsightly,” Mayer said.
“Besides, with community solar there are no 20-year commitments: Our customer contracts are month-to-month and members can cancel any time without penalty,” he added.
Community solar farms are a rapidly expanding around the country, supported by utilities which have an easier time incorporating solar electricity into their grid when it is produced at a single location and not on hundreds of rooftops.
Unlike rooftop panels, which help offset 30-50% of a household’s electricity usage, solar farms can offset up to 100% of a customer’s bill. “For homeowners that want to save money and make a material dent in fossil fuel emissions, community solar is a convenient and easy alternative,” Mayer said.
Community solar farms are not retail electricity supply and Solar Farms New York is not an ESCO, Mayer explained. “Many retail supply contracts have been criticized for being a ‘bait and switch,’” he said. “With our solar farms you will never pay anything until after you have received your NYSEG credits on your monthly bill.”
In New York, solar farm members can receive savings from a solar farm and at the same time continue to purchase their electricity supply from third party ESCOs or from NYSEG, at their option.
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Solar Farms New York owns and operates 40 community solar farms in upstate New York and markets memberships in those farms to owners and renters of residential homes and apartments. Currently all of the solar production is sold to one utility, New York State Electric and Gas. Additional farms are expected to be built to meet demand from customers in Con Edison and National Grid territories. The company’s sister company, Solar Farms Massachusetts, markets memberships in solar farms to residential and commercial customers in eastern Massachusetts.
Solar Farms New York can be reached at its Albany number, 833-877-7632. Further information can be found at the company’s website, www.SolarFarmsNY.com.