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Wayne Post
  • Solar proposal denied grant funding

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  • ARCADIA — A proposed solar project expected to bring significant electricity -cost savings to the town of Arcadia, Village of Newark and the Newark school district has run out of juice.
    According to Matt Rankin, renewable energy project associate from Larsen Engineers, “project applications passed NYSERDA technical review with merit, but were not awarded grant funding through the competitive bid program.”
    Letters were sent out to each municipality last week informing them that the grant was denied.
    If the state grants had been approved, each municipality would sign what is called a purchase power agreement, and a developer would have constructed solar panels at the 161-acre town-owned landfill site on Route 88. A typical agreement is usually for 20 to 30 years, with a rate set on how much each municipality would pay for energy usage — a rate that decreases over the life of the agreement.
    “We were disappointed,” Mayor Peter Blandino said. “We would have had a better understanding of the total picture if it had been approved.”
    With grant approval, Larsen would have been able to put together the agreements that outlined costs to each municipality, Blandino said. The village and school district recently renewed their electricity-supply agreement through a co-op with BOCES that gives them electricity at reduced rates.
    “The Newark Central School District was disappointed to hear that our grant proposal was not funded for our joint solar project with the town of Arcadia and the village of Newark,” School Superintendent Matt Cook. “We remain committed to looking for innovative ways to reduce our costs, share with our partners in the town and village and advance educational opportunities for our students. Hopefully this effort is not over but merely delayed as we continue to look for ways to reduce our carbon footprint as well as the financial burden to our taxpayers.”
    Rather than see the grant denial as a defeat, Rankin said he sees it as an opportunity to refine the proposal to maximize the benefit to each municipality. Rankin offered the town, school and village options to prepare for reapplying for funding in the spring.
    Arcadia Supervisor Dick Colacino couldn't be reached for comment.

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