Clarkstown unveils Rockland’s first solar field set atop capped landfill

BY MICHAEL RICONDA

 Clarkstown Town Supervisor Alex Gromack discusses the installation of the new solar panels with O&R Vice President – Operations Francis Peverly.
Clarkstown Town Supervisor Alex Gromack discusses the installation of the new solar panels with O&R Vice President – Operations Francis Peverly.

WEST NYACK – Town of Clarkstown officials joined their partners in solar energy development in West Nyack on Tuesday to announce a first-of-its-kind solar array which is expected to drastically cut down on energy expenses for town residents.

The 2.364 MW, 4,300 panel solar array was built on a 13 acre, decommissioned landfill which had been sold to the County’s Solid Waste Management Authority in 2009. It is the first solar field in New York to be built on top of a closed and capped landfill.

“We are very proud to be the first municipality in New York to install a solar field on a closed and capped landfill,” Town Supervisor Alex Gromack said. “Councilman Hoehmann, who first proposed this idea in 2009, town officials, our consultants H2M architects and engineers, and I have been working on this project for several years and we are excited to see it finally come to fruition.”

The project has been in the works for about five years, during which Clarkstown collaborated in a public-private partnership with solar energy developers with OnForce and were assisted by consultants with H2M architects and engineers. Ground broke on the project on June 25.

Since then, OnForce paid the costs for installation, operation and maintenance of the field, which totaled to about $6 million. For their efforts, they are slated to receive a multi-million dollar grant from the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority through the state’s NY-Sun Initiative, which financially assists the development of solar power utilities.

At the same time, the project comes at no cost to the town and will save an estimated $4 million by producing electricity for the utility grid. It is expected to generate about 3 million-kilowatt hours of electricity, or about one third of the town’s total energy needs.

The project also enhances resiliency by integrating Orange & Rockland’s Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition (SCADA), a system which allows O&R to remotely supervise and control the solar grid to help identify and prevent serious power outages.

About 1,200 solar installations are currently incorporated into the Orange & Rockland grid. 450 of those installations are located in Rockland County.