The Year of the Solar Village

The Villages of Brockport, Lima, and Sodus Point have made the switch to solar energy.

Ontario, NY – The Greater Rochester area felt the impacts of the national solar energy surge in 2019 in several different ways, especially with local villages. The Villages of Brockport, Lima, and Sodus Point all made the switch to solar energy in 2019, allowing the reallocation of funds previously budgeted for rising municipal electric bills. GreenSpark Solar, a 20-year-old local renewable energy company, located in Ontario, NY, installed nearly 2MW of solar energy for the three villages in partnership with Kendall Sustainable Infrastructure (KSI).

“It is a great privilege to work with our local municipal leaders who take meaningful action to address the carbon footprint of our communities. Solar is a better, cheaper alternative to purchasing utility power and it requires great local leaders to have the foresight to bring these projects to fruition” said Kevin Schulte, CEO of GreenSpark Solar. “These three solar projects represent the opportunity for every municipality in New York to go solar, in an effort to think globally and act locally.”

The Village of Brockport’s project was championed by Village Mayor, Margaret ‘Margay’ Blackman. Margay started the process of going solar years ago, but it wasn’t until 2018 that Blackman put pen to paper with GreenSpark to move forward with a 650kW project located at the Village’s capped landfill. The Village is expected to save more than $300,000 through the 25-year warranty of the solar array, and even more beyond that time. The first year of operation will see nearly $15,000 of savings. The project went live in December of 2019.

“We were very happy that we could include our tri-municipal library and the Brockport Fire District on our solar array,” said Blackman, who has led the charge on several solar energy initiatives for the Village. “We look forward to offering Community Distributed Generation to Brockport residents in the future and completing the buyback of over 400 street lights, which will all be outfitted with LED lights to save even more.”

By mid-December the Village of Lima solar project had already started delivering solar energy to the power grid from the 450kW solar array located on West Main Street behind the Lima Ambulance Base. The solar array consists of 1,300 solar panels and is expected to supply 100% of the electrical energy needs of all Village of Lima owned facilities. Over the life of the solar array, which comes with a 25-year warranty, the Village is expected to see over $300,000 in energy savings.

The Village of Sodus Point’s solar array was the final of the three solar arrays to go live, producing power on the final day of the decade. The 675kW solar array is split, 40% of which powers households in the Greater Rochester Area through Community Distributed Generation, also known as Community Solar. The remaining 60%, 270kW, is allocated for the Village’s municipal facilities resulting in an expected savings of at least $80,000 in the first 20 years.

The design, development, and construction of the projects was made possible by a Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) between the Villages and KSI, who provided the funds necessary for GreenSpark to design and build the projects. With KSI as the owner of the solar arrays, the Villages were able to receive the benefits of solar energy with $0 capital investment. The municipalities agreed to lease the land used for the projects and will purchase the energy produced by the solar array at an established price for 20-25 years. The Villages began saving money immediately, from the moment the arrays began producing clean, local power.

John Chaimanis, Managing Director of KSI noted, “One of our specialties is providing the capital that allows municipalities to participate in solar, with no money down, and in a way that actually reduces their operating costs.” “The best part is working with outstanding partners like GreenSpark, and knowing that we are an integral part of creating great jobs and helping local businesses grow,” added Ken Lehman emphatically, also a Managing Director of KSI.

GreenSpark Solar applied for and received grants on behalf of all three Villages separately through the NY-Sun Initiative, which is administered by the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA). The NY-Sun Initiative is part of Governor Cuomo’s commitment to combating climate change and lowering energy costs for all New Yorkers. New York’s Clean Energy Standard recently increased from 50 to 70 percent renewable electricity by 2030, making it one of the most aggressive clean energy goals in the country. This commitment expands the clean energy economy in New York, creating local jobs. Outside of GreenSpark employees, these projects employed over 50 workers from Rochester area companies.

Celebrations and ribbon cuttings for the solar arrays are planned for later this year. GreenSpark Solar along with KSI and the Village of Brockport will be holding a celebration at the Village’s, now solar powered, library this Spring. And the Village of Sodus Point, along with GreenSpark and KSI, will be celebrating its solar array during pollinator week at the end of June after planting pollinator friendly habitats in and around the solar array.

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GreenSpark Solar, Loyal to People and Planet, creates fiercely local, cost-effective, clean energy options for the Greater Rochester Community. GreenSpark is a fully independent B Corp with a mission to provide diverse renewable energy solutions that produce meaningful cost savings, local economic benefits, and a better balance with our planet for homeowners, business owners, community partners, and more. GreenSpark’s success is a result of our passionate and experienced team, and our commitment to using business as a force for good for nearly 20 years. We can be both profitable and collaborative—creating win-win partnerships that benefit our long-term company health along with our growing solar family of customers, vendors, subcontractors, and our planet. For more information on how you can Go Solar visit greensparksolar.com

Kendall Sustainable Infrastructure (KSI), is an innovative asset management firm that creates value though investments in energy, water, and other sustainable real assets.  Our approach emphasizes attractive financial transactions for all parties and environmental sustainability. We are thought leaders, fundamental investors, and we positively impact the world with every dollar we invest.  In solar, KSI has built over 50 assets ranging in size from 200kWDC – 3MW, providing power purchase agreements or similar arrangements to schools, municipalities, businesses and community members.  We employ a national focus and have offices in Cambridge, MA and Washington DC. For more information visit kendallsustainableinfrastructure.com

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