BETHEL — It’s been 12 years in the making, but town officials were joined by county leaders, community advocates and representatives from BQ energy at the Bethel Transfer Station on Old …
BETHEL — It’s been 12 years in the making, but town officials were joined by county leaders, community advocates and representatives from BQ energy at the Bethel Transfer Station on Old White Lake Turnpike Wednesday morning for the groundbreaking of the “Psychedelic Solar” project on the town’s capped landfill.
Once complete, the approximately $5 million project that pays homage to the history of the Woodstock Music Festival will include nearly 10,000 solar panels producing enough energy to power around 500 homes.
The Psychedelic Solar project is being developed by BQ Energy in partnership with Distributed Solar Development (DSD).
Based out of Dutchess County, BQ Energy specifically develops wind and solar energy facilities on brownfield sites.
“We’ve got projects all around the Hudson Valley,” explained Paul Curran, founder and managing director at BQ energy. “We go looking for sites that really don’t have an alternate purpose and turn them into renewable energy … Taking this type of land and turning it into a source of 4.3 megawatts of electricity is just a brilliant idea.”
Once complete, residents and businesses in Bethel who are subscribed to the community solar program are expected to pay 10 percent less for electricity each month.
Curran recognized Supervisor Daniel Sturm and the Bethel Town Board for approaching BQ energy with the idea of placing a solar field years on the landfill around 12 years ago.
“The call was really ahead of its time. At that time there were no systems in New York State for doing this,” Curran said. “It takes perseverance to do anything and it’s still a bit of an innovative thing to do these types of projects.”
Supervisor Sturm said the project took a lot of sustained work from many different people in the community. He thanked town board members as well as the Sustainable Bethel Committee for helping make the project a reality.
“The town’s encouragement of solar energy is but one of many steps we have taken to make our town more environmentally sustainable and to contribute to the state’s goals under the climate act.” Sturm said. “We are a small municipality, but we are mighty when it comes to being a local leader in sustainability initiatives.”
Once the solar facility is complete, the Town of Bethel stands to make over $26,000 a year as part of a 25-year lease agreement signed with BQ energy.
“The solar installation is, as we’ve heard, a win-win-win for the town, its residents and it’s environment,’’ said Karen London, Co-Chair of the Sustainable Bethel Committee. “It transforms the otherwise unproductive property into a site that generates not only renewable energy but a revenue stream for the town.”
Sustainable Bethel is a committee of volunteers that works with the town board to research and develop recommendations to lower the town’s greenhouse gas emissions and adopt renewable energy policies.
Distributed Solar Development (DSD), a company based out of Schenectady, will help oversee the financing and construction of the facility alongside BQ Energy.
“Helping the State of New York and helping various communities like the town of Bethel to achieve their clean energy goal via community solar is something that has been very important to DSD,” said Kevin Hu, DSD Senior Manager, Asset Acquisitions.
Curran said the facility will be made to stand the test of time.
“We will be operating as long as the sun shines,” he said.
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