County still looking at solar


By David Avitabile

Schoharie County supervisors Friday agreed to get more information before making a decision on a solar energy project.
In the end, the solar project could benefit the county as well as towns, villages, and other entities in the county.
Jeff Conrad of Solomon Energy, who has been advising on their solar energy choices, recommended that the county sign a 60-day non-binding agreement with Borrego Solar to lock in the existing incentive which would decrease if the county went with another solar provider.
Gene Milone of Schoharie, though, felt the issue has not been researched enough to make a decision and was not ready to commit to one provider.
The county, he added, needs other options and cited the low prices for electricity that Solar City has given other counties. MEGA was mentioned as another provider that could give a presentation.
He also noted that Borrego is in the process of developing another solar project in the county which will not be on county-owned land, which could mean higher costs.
The county would require about 1.7 megawatts to power county buildings and only about one megawatt could be generated on county-owned land, according to Mr. Conrad.
Bill Federice of Conesville said any providers should maximize the energy generated from county land. Guilford, seen as an excellent source for solar power, is no longer owned by the county.
Earl VanWormer of Esperance said the most important intent was to give the county the best rate possible, which would save money.
It was noted that Solar City has already given a presentation and energy consultant John Hamor has gotten the county better rates than MEGA and has saved the county thousands of dollars, according to Mr. VanWormer.
Sean Jordan of Jefferson wondered why supervisors do not "trust its consultants."
Supervisors agreed to have other presenters speak to the board before a final decision is made.
They also agreed, in a split vote, to sign the non-binding agreement with Borrego to lock in the current incentives that would also cover the towns and villages.
The agreement, Mr. VanWormer said, does not "tie the county's hands."