The Clarkstown Town Board voted to move its interest in a possible solar array at the capped town landfill to the next phase. On Tuesday night, the board authorized a $38,600 of installing solar panels at the closed West Nyack landfill. The H2M Group of New City was retained for the anticipated three-month long evaluation project and the town’s grant writer was directed to apply for funding from NYSERDA (New York State Energy Research and Development Authority) to cover the cost.
“While the term feasibility study may indicate something that’s in its infancy, it’s a bit of a misnomer here because it’s really just culling all of the information that we’ve gathered with the laws that are in effect now and giving us the options so the town board can decide what’s in the best interests of the town,” explained Town Attorney Amy Mele.
She said there are different approaches to be considered. The town could fund the project through the issuance of municipal bonds and the electricity generated by the panels would offset the costs of supplying service to town owned buildings and facilities. Mele said that option was not available when Clarkstown officials first began looking into solar power. The consultants must determine how long it would take for the town to amortize its investment with that option.
The feasibility study will also look into the considerations involved in having a private developer construct the project. That would enable the town to purchase electricity at a much lower rate. The proposal from H2M noted the study would include “initiatives available, construction, installation, fund and approvals of said project.”
Town Board Member George Hoehmann, who has been seeking to have the town install solar panels, said the study will lay out the different scenarios from a business perspective. He said the advantage of using H2M is that the firm is familiar with the landfill because it prepares the annual reports required by the state Department of Environmental Conservation.
“It will be something that will be actionable within the next 90 days,” said Hoehmann.
Town Supervisor Alex Gromack said the town would hold public workshops on the recommendation reached by the feasibility study.