The New York State Power Authority thinks Clarkstown’s proposed solar array for the closed West Nyack landfill has potential. Clarkstown Councilman George Hoehmann said the Power Authority contacted the town about the project and is interested in tracking its development as a possible role model for other municipalities to follow. Once a Memorandum of Agreement is signed, the agency will assign an engineer to work with the town’s engineer and consultants, On Force Solar and Orange & Rockland as they prepare the project’s application to the state Department of Environmental Conservation for a permit.
Hoehmann said all the parties involved in the planning met earlier this month to finalize the arrangements for application which should be submitted by the end of April.
Hoehmann, who has advocated for a solar project in Clarkstown since 2009, said some of the technical details to be determined over the next few weeks include the weight of the panels of the top of the landfill cap.
“We’ve got to give them the engineering calculations as part of the application,” he said.
The next meeting takes place in mid April with the DEC to review the application materials. If all goes well with the permitting process, the permit could be approved within 60 to 90 days. From there, Hoehmann said things would move quickly.
“It looks very realistic for us to go into construction later this year and have the system up and running by the end of the year,” he predicted. “On Force is ready to go with construction as soon as the summer and they’re anticipating only 60 days for the construction.”
Hoehmann of Nanuet noted the costs associated with the project have been covered by a $100,000 payment from On Force. Expenses included the consulting engineers, studies and a $10,000 payment to O&R for a study about connecting the solar field to the power grid.
“The beauty of this is there is no money out of pocket for the town,” he said.
On Force will be responsible for installation of the two-megawatt solar field, once it is approved, and the town will buy electricity at a reduced rate.
Hoehmann said he is not surprised by the Power Authority’s interest because the project is unique for its potential to save the town money and that it will the first of its type in the state.
“It’ll be able to serve as lesson learned for other municipalities across the state,” he said.