From landfill to solar farm

County Executive Mike Hein speaks, with the solar-panels array as a backdrop. (Photo by Phyllis McCabe)

Ulster County Executive Mike Hein was joined by Amanda LaValle, Ulster County Department of the Environment coordinator, members of several environmental advocacy organizations, and members of the Ulster County Legislature in Lake Katrine on Monday to announce that Ulster County’s Utility-Scale Solar Project is fully operational. Construction on the 5,940-panel array began last fall; Central Hudson gave the array its thumbs-up to go live on May 10 after the array passed required tests.

“So yes — we are the only ‘net carbon neutral’ county in the state,” remarked the county executive. “Yes, we have won countless awards and been featured in National Geographic for our environmental work and yes — 100 percent of our energy comes from renewable resources. But the fact remains, there is so much more to do, as a county government, as a community and as a nation if we are to meet the environmental challenges that face us all.”


The installation, at the site of the former Town of Ulster landfill, is expected to generate 2,360 MWh of clean electricity each year, roughly equivalent to the electricity generated by burning 2 million pounds of coal or 4,000 barrels of oil. The array is expected to generate approximately 20 percent of all the electricity used by the Ulster County Government.

“In 2017, Ulster County’s renewable energy purchases prevented roughly 16,000 metric tons of greenhouse gas pollution from being emitted into the atmosphere and in fact our entire government operation is ‘net carbon neutral,’” noted county Department of the Environment Coordinator Amanda LaValle. “Climate change is a global problem, but this solar project is local response that can help have an impact.”