CHENANGO COUNTY – Local policymakers are seriously weighing the benefits of creating a solar microgrid in Chenango County that could alter the way solar energy is used in the area.
County administrators have entered preliminary talks with Acadia Energy, an energy corporation that uses its nonprofit subsidiary, Take Charge NY, to partner with local officials, environmental organizations and residents to create solar projects throughout the region.
Acadia generates energy that gets used locally first then sells remaining energy to the grid in order to turn a profit.
Representatives of Acadia presented their business model to the county’s economic and development committee Thursday, fielding questions from committee members about the good and bad effects of establishing a solar microgrid in Chenango County.
Acadia says the biggest perks of a microgrid are the reduced energy rates it would provide for residents and businesses and generated revenues of about $345,000 per 100 megawatts produced. The county would have say over where solar panels are placed and how the energy is distributed, they said.
“We have a lot of land in upstate which is now the site of a lot of these solar fields, which is great – except a lot of the solar fields up here are going to be hooked into the utility grid and sending energy where there’s a bigger demand downstate,” said Acadia Community Relations Director Kris Betts. “We want to make sure that downstate isn’t the priority to the detriment of upstate.”