Saugerties OKs deal to set up solar array at old town dump

The town of Saugerties will cut down on greenhouse gas emissions and make an annual profit from a two-megawatt solar array slated for the town landfill.

After months of considering offers from various energy firms, the town approved a deal with East Light Partners and also OK’d a payment in lieu of taxes agreement with the Dover Plains-based company. 

Under the deal, the company will lease the closed landfill on Route 212 for $30,000 a year. The town can also elect to buy up to 40 percent of the generated energy at a 10 percent discount. The PILOT deal calls for East Light to pay $1,900 to the town in taxes, with the rest of its assessment divided between the county and the school district.

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According to Town Supervisor Fred Costello Jr., the venture could garner up to $50,000 for the town, when energy savings are taking into account.

Costello quantified the town’s current annual energy use and greenhouse gas emissions in a press release announcing the partnership: 1,888,000 kilowatt hours, which generated 590 tons of greenhouse gases. The project was approved unanimously by the town council at its March 6 meeting.

“I am excited and proud about what this project means for Saugerties and its residents,” said Costello. “This project will enable us to slash that emissions number considerably … Our commitment to being a climate smart and fiscally responsible community continues.”

Currently, East Light Solar has completed three solar arrays in the Northeast: one in Darmouth, Mass.; another in Dix, N.J. and a third in Lenox, Mass. The company has other arrays in progress in East Fishkill, Kinderhook, Greenport and Union Vale. 

Costello said businesses and residents at some point in the future, will be able to buy electricity generated by the array; the remaining energy will be sold to neighboring communities.

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