Town of New Paltz considers building a solar field at the site of former landfill

The town is looking to use part of the capped former New Paltz landfill on Clearwater Road for a 5-megawatt solar energy installation. (Photo by Lauren Thomas)

New Paltz Town Board members continue to discuss building solar atop the capped town landfill and in the surrounding forest. Cara Lee, of the ad-hoc committee studying the issue, advised them at last week’s Town Board meeting that representatives of Sol Systems are committed to killing fewer trees, now that they have actually taken a close look at the site. The new plans call for six acres of the landfill to be covered in panels, as well as six-and-a-half to eight acres adjacent. More can fit on the landfill than was believed, she said, and the topography of the surrounding woodlands is proving more challenging. This will result in a slightly smaller project than was first proposed, producing a projected 4.6 megawatts of power.

Residents offered their own guidance. John Gotto, while supportive, questioned the need to try to comply with this year-end deadline; he expressed confidence that further incentives would be made available. That deadline is to receive tax breaks and incentives through state programs set to expire at that time. David Lent noted that a great deal many more trees grow in New Paltz now than did 80 years ago, and also wanted to make sure the Ulster County Resource Recovery Agency officials gave their approval, which in fact they have.

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Town council members performed an environmental review on signing a lease with Sol Systems leaders, but this project will still be subject to Planning Board review.

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