New solar farms power abandoned farmland


Alternative energy is a phrase you might hear a lot, but now you might see it a lot in your rural communities; especially in the form of community solar projects.

What would you like to know

  • Clay farmland is reused for community solar projects
  • 32-acre solar site could power up to 1,000 homes
  • NextEra Energy expects the site to be operational by March 2021

Farmers and landowners in the Town of Clay are moving from sourcing crops to sourcing energy. On Verplank Road, you can see a solar farm springing up ready to do just that.

“They are still taxed on this property. So it’s no surprise that they are looking for alternatives. And simultaneously, the solar industry across the country and in New York has become a very big business,” Damian said, Town of Clay supervisor. Ulatowski.

NextEra Energy, the new owners of the land on Verplank Road, is transforming 32 acres of old farmland into a solar farm that will provide 5.0 megawatts of power. Experts say it could provide energy to up to 1,000 homes.

“The electricity generated by the solar installation will be transferred to the grid, making it available to anyone, I guess, who is on the grid,” Ulatowski said.

Community solar projects like these make solar energy accessible to homeowners who are unable or unwilling to install solar panels on their property. A project like NextEra Energy’s solar farm in Clay, which is expected to be completed in the first quarter of 2021, offers an alternative.

“Support the governor’s initiative to turn to alternative energy resources in the coming years, and at the same time provide residents with options as to where their electricity needs come from,” Ulatowski said.

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