What is the rationale for this solar development?
The bottom line is to reduce our consumption of fossil fuels. The Tompkins County Energy Roadmap recommends developing 944 MW of solar PV on 4,720 acres (1.5 percent of the county's land area) as part of the strategy to achieve the 2050 goal of 80 percent carbon emissions reduction.
what is community solar?
It is a NY program that provides opportunity for renters, homeowners, and businesses to buy locally generated, clean power at a discount compared to NYSEG prices. Local generation means less lost energy during distribution.
who is involved?
NYSEG: controls where grid connections can be made, how much a developer is charged for each connection, meters how much power is generated, and applies credits to subscriber's bills.
Private Land Owners: Mr. Scott Pinney and Cornell University have decided to exercise their rights to develop their land by allowing solar arrays to be built on their land. The current zoning allows the proposed arrays.
Distributed Sun: is the project sponsor. It has a successful and productive record in our region with arrays built in Lansing, Harford, Ledyard, and Geneva. It will construct and manage the arrays, will sell the power generated, and will post a bond to guarantee decommissioning when the arrays are no longer useful.
The Dryden Town Board: has the authority to grant a special use permit for the project under applicable town laws. The proposed subdivisions of the Pinney and Cornell lands follow State Public Service Commission guidelines.
how much power will be produced?
The rated power production is 29 MW total (from all sites combined)--enough power for 7,500 homes.
why build in dryden?
The sites in Dryden are among the few sites in the County close enough to a suitable interconnection point to be approved by NYSEG. Every one of the interconnection sites will be utilized in the next few years.
how will the nearby neighbors be affected?
No question, solar projects change the landscape. Distributed Sun has been meeting with those affected to address their concerns. As a result the new proposal has bigger setbacks, different fencing, wildlife corridors, screening with native plant species, grazing not mowing, habitat for birds and pollinators, minimal tree cutting and trimming. Generally, solar panels are quiet neighbors. They don't pollute land or air and convey benefit without increasing traffic or adding burdens to our schools, sewers, or water infrastructure. The lands will retain their agricultural value for the future. In addition to local customers being able to get electricity at a discount, Distributed Sun will be improving the reliability and resiliency of NYSEG's local grid for everyone.
how does the community benefit?
The Dryden and Ithaca Schools, the Town of Dryden, and the County will each collect yearly payments from the developer through negotiated solar tax agreements - an estimated $8-million over 30 years. There will be new revenue from the Cornell-owned Ellis Tract near Turkey Hill and Dodge Roads which is currently tax-exempt, and from 2150 Dryden Rd. - all paid by Distributed Sun. This project will add to Dryden's reputation as a green energy leader and attract like-minded businesses and home buyers. It aligns Dryden with other towns around the County and State in responding to climate change, increases local energy independence, and reduces the need to burn fossil fuels.
HAVE CHANGES BEEN MADE TO THE PROPOSALS?
Yes. After talking to Dryden residents the developer has:
HOw MUCH MONEY WILL THE DEVELOPER PAY IN LOCAL TAXES?
In the first year, $232,000 (total) will be paid to the town, schools, and county. Each succeeding year will have a 2% increase over that, for a total of about $8,000,000 over the 30-year estimated life of the panels.
Will there be LOCAL JOBS CREATED?
There will be an estimated 200 jobs for Central New York workers during construction. Local firms are already working on engineering and landscaping parts of the project. Maintenance of the land under the arrays will be by local residents and their animals.