Solar array to power Madison County buildings

LINCOLN — A new solar array, located at Madison County’s Buyea Road landfill, will help supply energy to the county office building and the jail, among other buildings.

Madison County did not have to pay for the array’s installation nor does it have to worry about upkeep. That will be taken care of by AEP OnSite Partners, a wholly-owned subsidiary of American Electric Power. Madison County has agreed to purchase the power the array produces under a long-term Power Purchase Agreement.

The installation of the array was made possible through a $974,616 award from the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority’s NY-Sun Competitive PV program.

The array consists of 7,752 ground-mounted photovoltaic solar panels. The system is expected to produce 2.8 million kWh of lower-cost renewable energy annually.

Scott Ingmire, director of the county Planning Department, said the project will bring significant cost savings and green energy benefits to Madison County for the next quarter century. A news release from RER Energy Group, which managed the project, estimated the cost savings at more than $3 million over the PPA’s 25-year term.

“We anticipate that the array will produce enough power for about 73 percent of our power needs,” Ingmire said. “The remaining power will be provided by National Grid and a supplier chosen through participation in the Municipal Electric and Gas Alliance.”

Ingmire said other areas the solar array will power include the veterans building, highway garage and the Social Services building. He said the buildings were chosen because they have the largest power consumption of the county’s complex in Wampsville.

Mike Roach, project developer for RER Energy Group, said Madison County has had a long history of innovation in regard to energy and sustainability.