Tue, Jul 23rd, 2024


City of Ithaca and Tompkins County Announce Renewable Energy Partnership

In response to the announcement by Governor Cuomo of $94 million awarded for 142 large-scale solar energy projects across the state, Tompkins County and the City of Ithaca announce a renewable energy partnership that will generate solar power to meet a substantial portion of City government electricity needs, through a 2.4 million-watt solar array to be constructed on County-owned land at the Ithaca Tompkins Regional Airport.

The County will lease land for construction of the array. The City of Ithaca will purchase the power, and benefit from a remote net metering arrangement. That means the electricity generated by the solar array will be directed into the electric grid, and the City will get credit for each kilowatt of electricity in the form of a reduced electric bill.

The project is made possible by competitive funding from the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA), as part of the NY-SUN initiative. Application for the incentive funds was filed with NYSERDA on behalf of the two governments, by the firm SolarCity, which applied to construct the solar array on approximately 10 acres of scrub land located on airport property on the west side of Warren Road.

SolarCity is the preferred solar vendor for the Municipal Electric and Gas Alliance (MEGA), whose participants include the County and the City of Ithaca.

“We are particularly proud of our partnership role in this project,” said Tompkins County Legislature Chair Michael Lane. “Tompkins County worked with the Municipal Electric and Gas Alliance to create a new way for local governments to purchase renewable energy from relatively large-scale, off-site solar and hydro facilities. Now, through a unique partnership with the City, County, and one of the nation’s largest solar providers, this good idea is about to become a reality. We believe our example is an important step forward in reducing our reliance on fossil fuels, and will pave the way for other local governments throughout the State.”

“The project will help the City of Ithaca meet its energy use and greenhouse gas reduction goals,” noted City of Ithaca mayor Svante Myrick. “The City is committed to reducing GHG emissions in government operations 20% by 2016 and 80% by 2050. The City’s Energy Action Plan recommends increased use of renewable energy and recognizes solar PV as one of the most promising renewable energy sources available in the area.”

The planned 8,000-plus panel solar array is expected to produce 2.8 million kilowatt hours each year—enough to power approximately one-third of City government operations. The City/County project is one of eight projects funded in the Southern Tier region.

To read the Governor’s announcement of the statewide Solar Project awards, access this link.

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