January 14, 2020

RED HOOK, N.Y. — The switch has been flipped to turn on the 1.73-megawatt solar power array behind the town highway garage.

The $4.3 million project — which will provide electricity to the town and village of Red Hook and the village of Tivoli — became fully operational on Dec. 31, 2019, and is expected to reduce the municipalities’ electric bills by 10 percent.

Village of Red Hook Mayor Ed Blundell noted the project was funded by private investors.

“They are developers and we purchase power from them,” he said at a Village Board meeting Monday.

The developer, SunCommon, created the array of solar panels on about 8.7 acres between South Broadway (U.S. Route 9) and Glen Pond Drive.

The array is to provide enough electricity to serve the three municipalities and create some discounts for residential properties that don’t have their own solar equipment.

“We had enough power left for 250 customers, which we love because, in the village, we have smaller footprint houses,” Blundell said. “… So it’s hard to get solar [panels] on them just because they don’t point the right way.”

Blundell said the agreement with SunCommon will allow the municipalities, eventually, to purchase the solar array at a reduced price.

“In six years, there’s a window for municipalities to buy the project,” he said. “… We could theoretically get a $4 million plant for $2 million.”

Blundell also said there have been some pleasant surprises regarding the quality of the array.

“I was with the fellows from SunCommon … and they said this winter, during clear nights … [with a] full moon, there was kilowatt generation,” he said. “Nothing like the full capacity it can do, but it was pretty amazing.”

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