United Renewable Energy LLC has completed construction of the first Community Solar Project interconnected to National Grid in New York state. The project is located in Northern New York, in the Hamlet of Somerville, on approximately three acres of underused pasture land. The solar photovoltaic modules peak output is 241kWdc, yielding a peak of 165kWac returned to the power grid.
The project is unique in that it is entirely supported by members within the nearby communities, including homeowners, low income homeowners, farms, and local businesses. The members of the solar farm receive a percentage of the solar plant's generation each month, which is credited to their bill exactly like the panels were installed on their own roofs. By centralizing the solar panels at one site, the plant was constructed at a much lower cost than otherwise possible, allowing members to save more money on their combined electricity and distribution costs than if they installed solar panels on their roofs.
National Grid provided close support to the development and interconnection of the site, including some extraordinary late December work to bring the plant to full production. "We appreciate the collaborative approach taken by National Grid in New York, specifically the Distributed Generation team, who supported us while taking our input to develop a repeatable Community Solar process, something brand new to the company" said William Silva, CEO of United Renewable Energy LLC. "As a market leader in Community Solar projects, including over 6MW of installed projects, it was wonderful to complete the first National Grid connected Community Solar project in New York for the benefit of our members."
"National Grid is pleased to partner with United Renewable Energy on the company's first community solar project in New York," said Melanie Littlejohn, National Grid's New York vice president. "We are excited to play a leadership role in developing innovative approaches that enable New York to achieve its goal for renewable energy. National Grid looks forward to supporting effective solutions for a cleaner, greener energy future that are essential to achieving the company's clean energy goals as well as New York's target of 50 percent renewables by 2030."
The plant achieved full production in December, and is already over 50 percent subscribed with just local word of mouth advertising. New members from the local community are welcome, but space is very limited.