Clearway Celebrates Opening of Community Solar Farms Across Hudson Valley

Officials Cut Ribbon in Poughkeepsie in Honor of Expanding Access to Local Solar Energy

Poughkeepsie, NY – April 30, 2019: Clearway Energy Group yesterday welcomed state and local officials, community partners and industry leaders for a “Solar Farm-to-Table” gathering to launch Clearway’s Underhill Community Solar Farm as well as Clearway’s broader Community Solar fleet in New York that recently became active in 2019. 

The event was co-hosted by Poughkeepsie-based Plan Bee Farms & Brewery, a featured provider of New York State craft beer under the Taste NY Program, and a subscriber to Clearway’s Underhill Community Solar Farm, underscoring the role of locally-produced solar power and locally-grown food and beverages in creating sustainable communities. Pollinators placed on the Underhill Community Solar Farm aid food production, including Plan Bee’s locally made honey, which was handed out as a thank you gift to all guests.

Community Solar is an exciting new renewable energy initiative that allows residents and businesses to go solar without needing to install solar panels on their property. The Underhill Community Solar farm marks Clearway’s first operational Community Solar farm in the Central Hudson Gas & Electric (Central Hudson) utility service territory, and with 8,856 panels and the ability to power over 450 homes, it’s the largest in Central Hudson’s service territory to date. In addition, as one of the first participants in the New York State Energy Research & Development Authority’s (NYSERDA) innovative “Solar for All” program, Underhill will expand access to the benefits of clean energy to low- and moderate-income New Yorkers.

Administered by NYSERDA as part of Governor Cuomo’s $1 billion NY-Sun program, the Solar for All program is designed to provide no-cost community solar to 10,000 low-income homeowners and renters in support of the state’s ongoing efforts to make renewable energy more accessible to all New Yorkers. Solar For All offers eligible low-income households the opportunity to subscribe to a community solar project in their area without any upfront costs or participation fees. Through the Solar for All program, the Underhill project will reserve up to 1 megawatt of the project capacity for eligible homeowners and renters to subscribe.

Clearway recently placed in service three other Community Solar Farms in the Hudson Valley, including the Minisink Solar Farm (5.3 megawatts DC, in Minisink, NY – one of the largest Community Solar Farms in New York State and the largest in Orange & Rockland’s Gas & Electric service territory) which was supported by New York Green Bank; the Crans Mill Solar Farm (2.8 megawatts, in Pine Bush, NY) and the Bluestone Solar Farm (3 megawatts, in Kingston, NY).  Clearway has more than a dozen Community Solar Farms in development throughout New York, making it one of the largest Community Solar providers in the state. The Underhill Solar Farm was developed jointly by Clearway and Cypress Creek Renewables, and will be owned, operated and maintained by Clearway.

“Local, clean, affordable– at Clearway, we are so proud of what this project represents: community members coming together to support clean energy with ease and convenience,” said Drew Warshaw, Clearway’s Vice President of Community Solar. “We are grateful for the visionary leadership of Governor Cuomo, NYSERDA and the New York Green Bank, as well as for the broader Hudson Valley community and, of course, our customers, in helping us break down the barriers to clean energy.  Now we just need more of it.”

“Under Governor Cuomo’s leadership, NYSERDA is proud to be advancing the Solar for All program to make sure underserved homeowners and renters have access to locally-produced renewable energy sources like solar,” said NYSERDA President & CEO Alicia Barton. “Congratulations to Clearway Energy on the completion of their Underhill community solar project which is helping to make solar a reality for more Hudson Valley residents, as well as reducing statewide emissions in support of New York’s clean energy and climate goals.”

“NY Green Bank is pleased to see the proliferation of community solar in New York, and to be able to provide financing support to enable the deployment of those and other sustainable infrastructure projects,” said Alfred Griffin, President of NY Green Bank. “As the community solar market continues to evolve, NY Green Bank stands ready to lean in and demonstrate the viability of the business model to draw new investors into the marketplace, driving more clean energy deployment and greater environmental and economic benefits for all New Yorkers.”

“It’s exciting to see a farm brewery on the forefront of working with renewable energy in New York State,” said State Liquor Authority Chairman Vincent G. Bradley.  “The SLA’s farm licenses were cultivated to encourage breweries, distilleries, and wineries to utilize New York State grown ingredients, and by adding renewable energy resources into the mix, it propels the idea of sustainable communities forward.”‎

“We are happy to be working with Clearway Community Solar to help offset our farm and brewery electrical use,” said Plan Bee Co-Founder and Owner, Emily Watson. “As an added bonus, we will be expanding our beehives due to the pollinator friendly seed mix that will be planted under the solar panels.”

“This event is an awesome testament to the innovation happening throughout our community as the Hudson Valley continues to lead the way in fostering clean, renewable and affordable energy solutions,” said New York State Senator Sue Serino. “We congratulate Clearway Energy Group on this impressive launch and thank them for their commitment to our local community. ”

“The shift from harmful fossil fuels to clean, renewable energy sources begins at the community level,” said New York Assemblymember Didi Barrett. “Thanks to Clearway’s Underhill Community Solar Farm, Hudson Valley families and business owners can now take advantage of locally produced solar energy without having to deal with prohibitive startup costs. I’ll continue to work with my fellow elected leaders and local stakeholders to expand New York’s green energy initiatives and help preserve our environment for future generations.” 

“It’s a very exciting day for the town,” said Jon J. Baisley, Town of Poughkeepsie Supervisor. “Clearway’s Community Solar Farm is the first of its kind in the town. It will allow all interested residents and businesses access to clean energy at an affordable price. The town is committed to reducing its carbon footprint and this is another major step in doing so.”

“This installation expands the availability of electricity produced by solar energy in our region,” said Paul E. Haering, Senior Vice President of Engineering and Operations at Central Hudson Gas & Electric. “We’re very proud of our team at Central Hudson in assisting developers and our customers with the grid-interconnection process to support their solar systems. Solar installations within Central Hudson’s service area are among the highest in New York on a per capita basis. Today, nearly 8,700 homes, businesses, municipalities and institutions have installed solar arrays, representing nearly 95 megawatts of solar capacity and offsetting about 8.5 million pounds of greenhouse gas emissions each year.”

For more information on Clearway Community Solar and to join a Clearway Community Solar Farm visit www.clearwaycommunitysolar.com. For press inquiries, please contact media@clearwayenergy.com.

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