The COVID-19 pandemic may have hit many industries, but renewable energy doesn’t seem to be one of them. Looking at activity in New York state, it’s clear that community solar production and the expansion of solar projects have continued despite the global pandemic. Among the newest projects to be implemented is a 2.8-megawatt solar array that was constructed on a 23-acre field in Montgomery. There are currently seven additional farms waiting for approval or presently operating in Montgomery, which has become a focal point of New York’s thriving solar industry.
Montgomery is just the tip of the iceberg as Orange, Sullivan, and Ulster counties have 91 projects between them. Based on Times Herald-Record findings, the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority states that the total output of the proposed, operating, and under-construction projects is 288 megawatts of energy.
Thirty-six of the 91 projects had been completed at the time of the authority’s last update. The production of all 36 sights is estimated to be around 93 megawatts, which is enough to power 14,000 homes. Once the remaining projects are completed, thousands of additional residential properties would be able to benefit from the increase in community solar production.
Even smaller towns in New York are starting to catch onto the importance of solar and community solar. Goshen’s planning board was in the middle of reviewing four projects just before COVID-19 was discovered. Since then, two additional projects capable of generating 5-megawatts each were brought to the table.
With the increase in community solar arrays and solar farms, some have voiced concern for New York’s agriculture industry. Though usable farmland is being overtaken by solar, the owners of these properties receive tax abatements. With each new project completed or assigned to a parcel of land, New York and its participating counties move one step closer to the goal of complete carbon neutrality.