Town of Bethel hosts stars and attracts sun with support from Albany

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HUDSON VALLEY – Governor Cuomo spent part of Tuesday touting his clean energy agenda with the announcement that three gigawatts of solar have been installed across the state, enough to power more than half a million homes.  Solar power has grown 2100 percent statewide since the initiative was unveiled in 2011, according to Cuomo’s office.  Unlike most building materials now, solar has decreased in cost by 69 percent in the same period.

Tuesday’s announcement was used by Cuomo to advertise that New York is growing one of the strongest solar markets in the country, according to his statement.  When combined with the projects that are under development, achieving this milestone represents 95 percent of Governor Cuomo’s goal to install six gigawatts of solar by 2025, as mandated in the Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act.

“The success of NY-Sun demonstrates we are on track to meeting our nation-leading energy goals while stimulating green job growth and economic recovery in communities across the state as part of our comprehensive plan to reimagine New York following the pandemic,” said Cuomo.

Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul was dispatched to Bethel on Tuesday to carry Cuomo’s message with NYSERDA President and CEO Doreen Harris and Peggy Flannery, Principal at Generate Capital.  The three were at a ribbon-cutting for the largest community solar project in the Mid-Hudson region. The project, informally known as “17B”, located in the town of Bethel on the road leading to the site of the original 1969 Woodstock Music Festival, was developed by Delaware River Solar and is owned by Generate Capital, which jointly manages the site. It includes a 6.1-megawatt solar array that will produce 7.8 million kilowatt-hours of solar energy annually and is fully subscribed with 129 residences, small businesses, and non-profits. The project received over $1 million from NYSERDA through the NY-Sun initiative.

Assembly Member Aileen Gunther said, “I am happy to see that the largest community solar project in the Mid-Hudson Region has been completed in Bethel. The Town of Bethel has always been at the forefront of sustainability and green energy, and this project will help to advance New York State’s green energy goals.”  The lawmaker also said, “I look forward building upon this successful project and working to ensure that Sullivan County continues to lead the way to a cleaner and brighter future.”

Town of Bethel Supervisor Daniel Sturm said, “Bethel is proud to host this announcement of NYS’ accomplishments as a solar energy leader. This community solar array—the largest in the Mid-Hudson region—is an outgrowth of our town’s own leadership. In 2017, Bethel’s Town Board enacted a widely-praised solar energy law to encourage roof-top and ground-mounted solar installations while being protective of property rights and our area’s scenic beauty. And as both a Bronze-certified Climate Smart Community and designated Clean Energy Community, the Town of Bethel continues to work closely with NYSERDA on projects large and small to advance our own and the State’s sustainability goals.”