3,500 acres of solar development: what does it mean?

In the event that some of you are still unsure as to whether Coxsackie's solar issues are just an overblown response by a small NIMBY group and misinformed officials, or should warrant genuine concern by the entire community, please read this stat update. As we have just noted in an earlier post, 3500 acres of farmland would be secured for these projects. While not all of that land will be blanketed in black solar panels due to necessary mitigation, please note that the 2 Article 10 projects alone will be composed of nearly 500,000 solar panels, with one of the projects potentially clearcutting 80+ acres of trees. Perhaps we need to ask ourselves just how much is this community willing to take for the team? And are we being targeted as one of the lucky communities to be a scapegoat to solar...

So one more time: 3,500 acres of land secured by solar developers. At least 1,200 acres of solar hardware—more, if you look at my Hecate site analysis. 600,000 solar panels. 175 megawatts. We’re not making these numbers up. Our maps and numbers come from project documents and public sources. We’re not telling you how to think or feel about these numbers. You’ll have to do that for yourself. We just want you to have the facts.

So one more time: 3,500 acres of land secured by solar developers. At least 1,200 acres of solar hardware—more, if you look at my Hecate site analysis. 600,000 solar panels. 175 megawatts. We’re not making these numbers up. Our maps and numbers come from project documents and public sources. We’re not telling you how to think or feel about these numbers. You’ll have to do that for yourself. We just want you to have the facts.

The “3,500-acre” number refers to sites on which plants have been proposed. It includes the blacked-out part of that map showing solar plant sites. **It does not show where panels will be located.** At the moment **no one knows where panels will be located,** or in some cases how much land they will require.

Solar hardware would cover at least 1,200 acres of the town. Even more, if you include the areas between and around arrays that can’t be used for anything else. Most of the remaining land would be used for mitigation or potential expansion. For instance, when you destroy endangered species habitat, the DEC requires you to set aside more. Located primarily in residential and agricultural districts, this land would not be available for residential and agricultural development, which were the community’s intended uses.

These are some of the projects proposed for Coxsackie, along with their generating capacities in megawatts (MW). You can find these numbers on the NYSERDA website and project documents:

-Hecate Energy’s Greene County Solar Facility: 50 MW
-Hudson Energy’s Flint Mine Solar facility: 100 MW
-Greene County Energy Properties facility: 20 MW
-Misc. smaller projects: 5-10 MW (not much project info available)

TOTAL: 175+ MW

1. We have more utility-scale solar proposed for the town of Coxsackie than for all of the counties on the east side of the river. That is more than Rensselaer, Columbia, Dutchess, Putnam and Westchester combined.

2. The Town of Coxsackie’s proposed capacity equals more than 75% of the solar projects installed in the entire state of Vermont. We have roughly the same amount of solar proposed here as is installed in Maine, New Hampshire, and Rhode Island combined. Our town’s proposed capacity represents over a third of what Connecticut currently produces.

3. Our proposed solar capacity is 12% of New York State’s currently installed total. If you add together the state’s current and proposed capacity over the next five years, our town would still be producing almost 4% of the state’s solar capacity.