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Clarkstown Board Approves Solar Project Actions

Proposed solar array for seven acres of former West Nyack landfill would not cost town any money

 

The Clarkstown Town Board approved three resolutions at Tuesday night’s meeting related to the proposed at the closed town landfill in West Nyack on Route 303.  The resolutions were described as necessary in order to get reimbursement for project costs from NYSERDA (New York State Energy Research & Development Authority).

Board members authorized the supervisor to complete a Letter of Intent with SolarCity Corp. of Albany “for further discussions and negotiations in order to reach definitive agreements for the sale of power under a power purchase agreement.”  On May 15, the town selected SolarCity as its contractor to install solar panels.

The second resolution approved hiring H2M (Holzmacher, McLendon & Murrell, PC) for engineering services, including preparing a work plan and review and coordinating the work on the project. The fee cap for the New City firm was set at $51,800.  

The third resolution named Clarkstown as the lead agency on the project for the New York State Environmental Quality Review Act (SEQRA).

Councilman George Hoehmann, who has been spearheading the town’s consideration of installing a solar array, said the selected vendor assumes all the risks of the project and the town expects reimbursement for the feasibility study and work plan fees. 

“We won’t have to bear the cost,” he said, adding, as part of the agreement the contractor will reimburse the town for the expenses. 

The town’s designation as lead agency is necessary because it has to go through the initial permitting process with the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC). The DEC has to approve any actions involving the former landfill site. 

“They (SolarCity) will construct and operate at their own expense on a seven-acre portion of the landfill a two-megawatt solar field that we will acquire the electricity from at reduced rates,” said Hoehmann.

The solar panel array is proposed for land near the existing transfer station.    In response to a resident’s question, Hoehmann said the panels would not affect the Rockland County Radio Control Club usage of part of the closed landfill to fly model airplanes.

According to Hoehmann, the town will purchase electricity at a reduced rate for 20 years under a power purchasing agreement. At the end of 20 years, the town can buy the solar equipment for $1.  The equipment has a life expectancy of 30 to 40 years. 

“From a business perspective, it’s a good business arrangement for the town,” he said. 

Hoehmann said Clarkstown is just the second or third municipality in the state to enter into a power purchasing agreement. 

H2M received additional work from the town through two other resolutions. 

It will provide additional construction administration/observation, construction testing and quality control services for the Congers-Valley Cottage Ambulance Corps building at a cost not to exceed $19,000.  The original contractor defaulted and four more months has been required for completion of the project. Under the town’s original contract with H2M for the project, it was also hired to perform specialty investigations required by the NYS Building Code.  

The town accepted H2M’s proposal to conduct a comprehensive Watershed Study for the Hackensack River Drainage Basin.  According to the resolution, the $65,000 drainage study will focus on “the frequent and severe flooding, which occurs in the West Nyack region.”  The firm will provide engineering services for the town and its task force looking into the repeated flooding problems.

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