Tompkins, Ithaca Plan 2.4MW Solar Array

A 2.4 megawatt solar array is planned for Tompkins County-owned land at the Ithaca Tompkins Regional Airport...

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By Andrew Casler, via the Ithaca Journal, 09/26/14

2.4 megawatt solar array is planned for Tompkins County-owned land at the Ithaca Tompkins Regional Airport. The 8,000-plus panel solar syste is expected to produce enough power to supply the City of Ithaca government with a third of its annual energy demands, according to the county. The array is planned on about 10 acres of scrub land located on airport property on the west side of Warren Road.

“The project will help the City of Ithaca meet its energy use and greenhouse gas reduction goals,” Ithaca Mayor Svante Myrick said in a statement.

The city is committed to reducing its government operations greenhouse gas emissions 20 percent by 2016 and 80 percent by 2050, Myrick added.

The project is part of a nearly $100 million state grant project aiming to increase New York’s solar capacity by more than 214 megawatts. Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced the awards Friday.

“New York is quickly becoming a national leader in renewable energy by building a competitive solar industry, and today’s award recipients are an example of how that progress continues to grow,” Cuomo said in a statement.

SolarCity filed an application for the incentive funds on the city’s and county’s behalf, and the company is contracted to install the panels.

The county will lease land for array construction, and the city of Ithaca will purchase the power through a remote net metering arrangement. That means the electricity generated by the solar array will be directed into the electric grid, and the city will get credit for each kilowatt of electricity in the form of a reduced electric bill.

“Now, through a unique partnership with the city, county, and one of the nation’s largest solar providers, this good idea is about to become a reality,” Tompkins County Legislature Chairman Mike Lane, D-Dryden, said in a statement. “We believe our example is an important step forward in reducing our reliance on fossil fuels, and will pave the way for other local governments throughout the state.”

Follow Andrew Casler on Twitter: @AndrewCasler

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