A core group of 50 homeowners in Croton-on-Hudson are participating in a community solar project to provide them with clean, locally-sourced energy to reduce electric bills and emissions.
In early January 2021, the Village of Croton-on-Hudson’s Department of Public Works (DPW) marked the completion of a 765-panel solar installation built on the flat roofs of the DPW building on Yorktown Road.
It was completely financed by the developer, Ecogy Energy, which is also responsible for marketing the output and pays the village an annual rental of $25,000, according to Joel Gingold, Climate/Environment Chair of local advocacy group CCoHOPE Indivisible.
He calls the arrangement “one of the exceedingly rare win-win-win situations.”
“Community solar is unique,” said Lindsay Audin, Chair of Croton-on-Hudson’s Sustainability Committee. “It provides an opportunity for citizens who otherwise might not be able to afford their own residential solar system but want to improve the current state of renewables while saving on their bills.”
Ecogy’s partner in the project is Croton Energy Group, which worked on roof repair and solar system construction. The two companies say they outfitted over 90 households in other communities with solar in 2020.
Over its lifetime, the Ecogy community solar system will produce over 8.6 million kWh of electricity, equivalent to the carbon sequestered by almost 8000 acres of U.S. forests, or enough to offset the greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from 15 million miles of vehicular travel, or the CO2 emissions from burning 645,000 gallons of gasoline.
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Gingold points to two other community solar installations in progress — at Metro North’s Croton-Harmon station and Croton Landing Park – and the conversion of Village lights to efficient LED fixtures as other examples of reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. He says the LED upgrades will reduce municipal electricity costs by $75,000 a year.
Still, says Gingold, a longtime consulting nuclear engineer, all of these developments combined “barely make a ripple in what is being lost at Indian Point.”
He adds, “While Indian Point has certainly had its problems, from a purely greenhouse gas/climate change standpoint, its closure is an abject disaster.”