OSWEGO COUNTY – After several years of planning, project construction and some additional necessary upgrades to National Grid’s distribution system, the County of Oswego energized its largest solar project June 29 as officials gathered at the site in Volney to make the final connection to the grid.
The project, which originally began in 2014, is part of the NY-SUN program administered by the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority.
The 2 MW system, which covers about 10 acres next to the Bristol Hill Landfill site on NY Route 3, came at no cost to the county and is predicted to save nearly $5 million over the next 20 years.
County officials said that in addition to the financial benefits generated by this initiative, the energy produced will have significant environmental impacts as well.
When compared to the same amount of electricity produced over 20 years using fossil fuels as the energy source, this solar project will help avoid the production of over 39,000 tons of CO2, 27 tons of NOx, 6.6 tons of SO2 and 7.9 tons of particulates; this is roughly the equivalent of driving 1,693,174 cars 50 miles a day for one year.
Acknowledging the efforts of many who played a role in this project, Shane Broadwell, Chairman of the Oswego County Legislature, said, “It is important that we remember today former Chairman Barry Leemann, who is largely responsible for our initial ventures into renewable energy and energy efficiency projects. It was under his leadership that our management team was first directed to explore every opportunity that was mutually beneficial to our taxpayers and the environment. I am excited to be a part of continuing his mission.”
County Legislator Linda Lockwood, Vice Chair of the Legislature and whose district the project is located in, was also on hand as the first electricity flowed from the solar field onto National Grid’s distribution system.
“It has been a long process to get us to this point today,” she said. “But it reinforces my belief that all good things come with time.”
Legislator Stephen Walpole, Chairman of the County Legislature’s committee on Infrastructure, Technology and Facilities added, “We work very hard to find ways to help keep the cost of government services down without diminishing the level of service that our residents expect. This is just one of many examples of our efforts and I am happy to be here today as the project goes online.”
The Volney project will be the eighth solar project initiated by Oswego County.
The other seven each generate 50kW or less.
In total, these renewable energy projects have the capacity to generate more than one-third of the electricity used on an annual basis by Oswego County government facilities.