Member Profile: Creating A Brighter Future Through Solar Energy

Creating A Brighter Future Through Solar Energy

According to a study done by Cornell University, Tompkins County used an estimated 779,501,347 kilowatts per hour of electricity in 2008. Producing that energy released 1,087,117 metric tons of CO2 into the atmosphere. The county has committed to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by 80% by 2050—in order to do so, those carbon emissions must be reduced as soon as possible. Fortunately, there is a green, efficient way to produce the electricity we need. All we have to do is look up and embrace the solar revolution in our own backyards.

New Chamber member Distributed Sun has proposed two solar farms that will span 175 acres on Ellis Hollow Road and 75 acres on Dryden Road. When constructed, the two sites will generate thirty megawatts of power, enough energy to power 7,500 homes. It is estimated the panels will offset 17,000 metric tons of CO2 each year in both locations.

The panels themselves are designed not to disrupt the local environment. Once they are built, they will not release any greenhouse gases, disturb local wildlife, or destroy any local vegetation. Distributed Sun promises that they only desire to be good neighbors and has worked to preserve the beautiful views of these areas. Due to some concerns raised by locals, that stewardship includes the planting of two hundred trees around the Dryden Road panels.

Both of these solar farms will generate tax revenue for the county and make a significant impact on their local budgets. In their first year of operation, the farms will generate $232,000 in taxes paid to the Town and County. Each year, this rate will increase by 2% for thirty years generating an estimated $8,000,000 in payments over its lifetime. Tompkins County residents subscribing to Dryden Community Solar will also see a 10% price reduction in their yearly energy bill.