New York-based Sunrise Solar Solutions president and CEO Doug Hertz is proposing a 3,600-panel community solar farm at the rear of Oakwood Cemetery in Mount Kisco. Con Edison electricity customers within the same utility territory would be able to subscribe and have the solar power credited to their accounts at a discount, bringing their bills down to nearly zero and saving about 10%. Sunrise Solar Solutions is Westchester, N.Y.’s largest solar installation and development firm.
“The system will generate roughly 1.7 GWh (gigawatt-hours) each year, enough to power over 200 homes. The project will also provide much needed revenue to Oakwood for its continued operation,” Hertz said. “This project, designated by the New York Public Service Commission as a Community Distributed Generation site, will generate clean, renewable energy to be fed into the grid, and the energy will then be sold at a discount to residents and businesses in Mt Kisco and Northern Westchester.”
Another key aspect of the project, says Hertz, is the creation of a “pollinator-friendly” habitat. The site will use a native pollinator planting scheme around the field of panels. This will allow much deeper-rooted plantings than the mowed grass field that currently exists and will enhance the ability of the soil to absorb, filter and maintain water. It also provides a habitat for birds, bees and other pollinator species, a critical component of maintaining a healthy local ecosystem.
“This project will create the equivalent CO2 effect of 1,490 acres of U.S. forest each year. This is even without computing the value of the pollinator plantings,” says Hertz.
Hertz said that Sunrise Solar Solutions had entered into a 25 to 30-year lease with the cemetery, which will use the land for its intended purpose once the lease ends.
— Solar Builder magazine