Solar Farm for Hudson!

A solar future

For over a year, East Light Partners has been working with the City of Hudson’s Economic Development committee (that I chair) and other local organizations to develop a community solar farm in Greenport, directly outside the City’s border. The contract between East Light Partners and the City of Hudson will be up for a vote at the Common Council formal meeting Tuesday, August 20, 2019.

Last year, East Light Partners asked the City of Hudson to be one of the purchasers of the electricity generated from the soon-to-be-installed farm. The City spends about $300-$400K/year for electricity on municipal buildings and street lighting. If the City of Hudson bought electricity from East Light Partners’ solar farm in Greenport, the City will save a fixed amount of 10% of the electricity’s cost, or about $30-$40K/year savings for the tax payer.

East Light Partners presented in front of the Common Council, the Economic Development and Finance Committees, and at a public meeting, held earlier this month.

You can view the East Light Partners PRESENTATION, MAP, and letters of SUPPORT by clicking on this link.

You can view the CONTRACT between East Light Partners and the City of Hudson by clicking on this link.

Please note from their presentation:

How Hudson will Benefit

The City of Hudson would purchase utility credits generated by the
ELP Greenport Community Solar project

Up to ~$400,000 worth of annual credits available (40% share)
• For every $1 of utility credit applied to the City’s National Grid
account, the City pays the solar project 0.90 cents.
• Always saving 10% on value of monetary credit
• Floor price of $0.06 per Utility Credit.
• Up to ~$40,000 in savings annually for a term of up to 25 years
City of Hudson would
–Reduce electricity costs with no upfront investment
–Further sustainability objectives through participation in local community solar

Questions raised:

Q: Does the City need an RFP (Request for Proposal)?

A: Since this is the only local solar farm, if an RFP was submitted, there would not be any other solar farms to meet the requirement.
(Recently, the Economic Development Committee submitted an RFP for solar car ports, with no positive responses. Our own local solar company, Lotus Energy, is no longer in business.)

Q: Can the city save more money building its own solar arrays?

A: This contract does not preclude the City from entering into any other contract or developing solar arrays on its own, (as is usually the case with a process called “net metering”). There is a cost advantage to a community solar farm which saves money and time (permits/installation/logistics) by building one large farm as opposed to smaller solar arrays on many rooftops. The City also has no upfront costs for this project as opposed to creating and paying for smaller projects on its own.

Q: Can residents participate?

A: Yes, residents will also be able to opt in for similar savings.

Q: Didn’t the City lose money on the last electricity program?

A: That program was based on a floating rate, however this one is fixed. This is a local solar farm, as opposed to bundling energy from various sources.

Q: Is it in the Bronson House view shed?

A: No. East Light Partners moved the solar farm from the initial plan, so that is is no longer in the view shed of Olana or the Bronson House. Please click on this link (provided above in the presentation) to see the map as well as letters of acceptance from Scenic Hudson, the Olana Partnership, and Historic Hudson.

Q: Why isn’t it in Hudson?

A: The area in Greenport is a stone’s throw from the Hudson border. We did investigate other sites, such as the old City landfill. Unfortunately, that landfill is capped, and cannot be built upon, as per NYS DEC regulation. The landfill is also under the authority of the county, not the city.

Q: The City can now save money that can go into “XYZ project”!

A: The City’s budget increases by about $200K/year due to health insurance costs and other long-term contracts. Even though I would love to say that this frees up money for another project, what this will actually do is lessen the cost increases for next year’s budget, saving the tax payers money.

Every day, I hear of another global story regarding climate change. Ultimately, it is going to be these little things that each community does LOCALLY – switching to renewable energy, electrical vehicles, planting trees (and stop cutting down current trees) – that will help solve this global problem. Think globally, act locally.

Please email or call your Alderman TODAY and let them know that you support this program. A list of Aldermen and their contact information can be found on this link.

If you are not sure of your Ward, please click here.

I enjoy being able to move these projects forward, to help our local Hudson community. I, myself, am up for reelection in November, and if you would like to contribute to my campaign, please click on this LINK.

Thank you very much for your support, Hudson!

— Rich

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