Town of Saugerties OKs solar power array at former landfill
By William J. Kemble, email@example.com
Friday, January 5, 2018
SAUGERTIES, N.Y. >> The Town Board has authorized a company called East Light Partners to build a 2-megawatt solar power array on the former town landfill under a lease agreement and payment-in-lieu-of-taxes plan that could run for 30 years.
The project was approved during a board meeting Wednesday. Town Supervisor Fred Costello said the lease terms were reached after officials could not strike a deal to have electricity generated on behalf of the town.
“We didn’t make a deal for the energy,” he said. “So what we did now is lease them the land. That land has never been on the tax rolls; there’s no assessment that’s applicable because it’s the former dump.”
Under the lease agreement, Eastern Light Partners (doing business as ELP Saugerties Solar LLC) will pay $400 per month during the predevelopment stage and $12,000 per megawatt for the first year the system is operational. The amount will rise by 2 percent annually.
The power generated will be put into the electric grid.
The 15-year payment-in-lieu-of-taxes agreement calls for $5,200 to be paid the first year with 2 percent annual increases after that.
“Rather than try to fabricate an assessment on what the value of the electricity would be, we negotiated a payment-in-lieu-of-taxes,” Costello said. “So we think this PILOT agreement is fair to them and it’s fair to us because we will generate a pretty significant amount of money.”
The town’s special projects coordinator, Vernon Benjamin, said there still are details to be worked out with the state Department of Environmental Conservation but that the deal represents significant revenue for the town.
“That’s all income for property that provides no income now and has no other likely income scenario for the future,” Benjamin wrote in an email. “After the first conversation with DEC, it seems to me that [the] process should go smoothly.
“The DEC official said it usually takes about three months,” he added. “I am not so sure about the interconnection agreement that East Light has to undertake with Central Hudson, but they are confident that also should go smoothly.”