3,500 acres: 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 update. As we have noted, 3500 acres of land would be secured for these projects. While not all of that land will be blanketed in solar panels due to necessary mitigation, please note that the two Article 10 projects alone will be composed of nearly 500,000 solar panels.

Seven out of nine projects. One more time: 3,500 acres of land  secured  by solar developers. At least 1,200 acres of solar hardware. 600,000 solar panels. 175 megawatts. We’re not making these numbers up. Our maps and numbers come from project documents and public sources.

Seven out of nine projects. One more time: 3,500 acres of land secured by solar developers. At least 1,200 acres of solar hardware. 600,000 solar panels. 175 megawatts. We’re not making these numbers up. Our maps and numbers come from project documents and public sources.

The “3,500-acre” number refers to facility areas 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 arrays and other structures would cover at least 1,200 acres of the town. Most of the remaining land would be used for mitigation or potential expansion. When you convert endangered species’ habitat to other uses, the NYDEC requires you to set aside alternative habit. Located one of the town’s few residential districts, land proposed for the Greene County Solar Facility would not be available for residential development, the community’s planned use for it. Solar developers point out that solar is a “low-impact” use of land in comparison to residential development. But the town has already determined that it wants residential development to focus on that district. In fact, many of us actually enjoy having human neighbors.

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 (very little project information available)

TOTAL: 175+ MW (as of March 2019)

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 counties 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.