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Supervisors approve contract to install solar array at Buyea Road Landfill

— The Madison County Board of Supervisors last week approved a Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) that will allow Solar Liberty Electric Company to build, finance, own and operate a solar powered photovoltaic array at the Madison County Landfill site on Buyea Road in the Town of Lincoln.

“We’re thrilled to see that Madison County has decided to ‘go solar’ with Solar Liberty’s PPA, which allows for no upfront costs or out of pocket expenses to the County. The Department of Solid Waste’s solar installation proves the county’s commitment to being a leader in renewable energy and their desire to save money for their citizens. We’re optimistic that more municipalities will follow their lead,” said Marking Manager Maureen Hanagan.

Solar Liberty provided the best of three proposals with a fixed price of five cents per kilowatt hour for a period of 15 years with a capital investment of zero dollars by the county.

“The departments’ projections indicate that the power purchase agreement will generate an approximate savings of 50 percent compared to our current arrangement with National Grid,” said Director James A. Zecca.

The agreement was contingent upon the project qualifying for a grant by the New Work State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) under its Program Opportunity Notice 2112, which the Board executed Aug. 13.

For municipal projects, PPA financing offers a way for government agencies to monetize tax rebates that they otherwise would not be able to use. Another attraction for PPA customers, whether municipalities or businesses, is that much of the hassle involved with installing a solar project — from how to connect to the grid to working with the range of incentives — is the developer’s burden to bear. California and New York are just two of many states where incentives are fueling PPAs.

The county is engaged in discussions with the New York State Department of Labor with respect to the application of the prevailing wage statute to the proposed PPA and although the matter is unresolved, the approved resolution is based upon the understanding that costs set forth in the Solar Liberty proposal will not be affected by the determination regardless of the outcome.

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