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Solar Array at Dutchess County Airport Moving Forward

Published: 8/7/2015

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Colleen Pillus

Poughkeepsie…The development of a 2.498 megawatt photovoltaic (PV) solar panel array at the Dutchess County Airport in the Town of Wappinger moved forward yesterday as the Dutchess County Legislature’s Environment Committee approved resolutions with lead agency status declaration as well as the approval and adoption of a Full Environmental Assessment Form (FEAF) and negative declaration of environmental significance in connection to the project. The resolutions will be considered by the full Dutchess County Legislature at their August Board meeting on Monday, August 10th. The solar array project is a partnership with Solar City and requires no upfront county investment, thanks to a NY-Sun award from the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA).

Dutchess County Executive Marcus Molinaro said, “Dutchess County is proud to be moving this solar initiative forward. The solar array will create clean energy and save our taxpayers money by offsetting our energy costs. This is an exciting project that will benefit our residents for generations.”

Sunlight captured in a solar array is converted to electricity and fed back into the power grid. The Airport solar array is expected to produce over 2.9 million kilowatt hours of clean electricity annually – equivalent to the power needed for more than 4800 average New York homes. Through New York’s Net Metering Policy – which allows customers to apply solar energy credits to other accounts they own – Dutchess County Government will use the solar energy generated at the County Airport to offset energy use at other county facilities, providing energy savings of up to $3 million over a twenty year period.

Jennifer Jachym, Senior Project Development Manager for Solar City said, “Dutchess County is making the smart move for its future. By locking in its energy cost at a lower rate—Dutchess County is making the right fiscal decision. It’s a bonus that you’re able to do it with clean, non-polluting solar power.”

The solar array will be located on the Dutchess County Airport property on the east side of NYS Route 376. As part of the environmental review process, it was found that the solar array project would have no impact on any wetland areas; would not impact any cultural resources; and would not require any tree clearing so there would be no impacts to any threatened or endangered species. A glare analysis was also completed and there was no significant impact found for either airport traffic or motorist travel along Route 376.

Following legislative approval for lead agency status, FEAF and the negative declaration, Solar City will submit application to the Federal Aviation Agency (FAA) for approval. Site installation work will begin following FAA approval. The solar array system is expected to be operational by summer 2016.

Dutchess County Legislator Jim Miccio and Chairman of the Legislature’s Environment Committee said, “I am proud to co-sponsor legislation that will provide significant cost savings to our taxpayers and improve the energy landscape in Dutchess County. This solar initiative will result in benefits to our community that will last for years to come.”

About Solar City: SolarCity® provides clean energy. The company has disrupted the century-old energy industry by providing renewable electricity directly to homeowners, businesses and government organizations for less than they spend on utility bills. SolarCity gives customers control of their energy costs to protect them from rising rates. The company makes solar energy easy by taking care of everything from design and permitting to monitoring and maintenance. Visit the company online at and follow the company on Facebook & Twitter.