ENFIELD, N.Y. — Businesses and residential customers in parts of Central New York and the Southern Tier can now buy electricity powered by a new solar array in Enfield, just west of Ithaca.
BlueRock Solar, a division of Syracuse–based BlueRock Energy, said the 2.3 megawatt array was completed and connected to the power grid.
Michael Francis, general manager of BlueRock Solar, tells CNYBJ that customers in NYSEG’s central zone — which includes Ithaca, Binghamton, Auburn, and Elmira — can now subscribe to purchase power from the solar farm that sits on 13.5 acres on Mecklenburg Road.
This is BlueRock’s second community solar farm. The first was completed in April in Millport, south of Watkins Glen, and was fully subscribed within two months.
The Enfield solar farm is larger, Francis says, and can provide enough electricity to power some 300 homes or small businesses. Each subscriber can sign up for a portion of the output of the 6,804 solar panels that make up the array, he says.
Renovus Solar, of Ithaca, was the general contractor.
Each month, the array will be metered and customers will be charged for the amount of energy they signed up for. Francis says residential customers and small businesses will qualify for a 5 percent discount on the supply and delivery portion of their bill.
A community solar farm simplifies using solar electricity, Francis explains. There is no need to purchase equipment or have installers come to the home or business. “We are not running a wire to their house,” he says. Instead, the electricity is transported to the home on the existing power grid.
“There is no money down,” Francis says. “You’re just purchasing the power.”
Francis added that the savings customers receive involves two bills, one from BlueRock and the second from NYSEG. Customers would pay BlueRock a discounted price for supply and delivery of power and would receive credits on their NYSEG bill for the higher, undiscounted price.
BlueRock says it has other projects in the works, including another solar farm in Western New York.
While nearly all subscribers for the Millport solar farm are residential customers, Francis says that small businesses can subscribe and receive a discount. Additionally, he says, marketing materials are available, so businesses can share with their customers that they are using solar power.
According to the Solar Energy Industries Association, New York gets slightly more than 1 percent of all its electricity from solar, enough to power nearly 200,000 homes.