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Bedford Schools Short-Circuits Solar Farm Proposal at West Patent

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The Bedford Board of Education has pulled the plug on the proposed 30-acre solar farm it had been considering behind West Patent Elementary as well as a carport there and at Mount Kisco Elementary School.

On Monday morning, the board issued a statement that it had discontinued entertaining the proposal from Brightcore Energy LLC of Armonk to install the array that would have paid the district $13 million to lease the land for 25 years.

“The district worked diligently to learn more about what this project would entail,” the board statement read. “After careful consideration, the district had determined not to proceed with this proposed project and will not advance its review or consideration of the project any further.”

It did not provide a reason for its decision. An e-mail sent to Board President Collette Dow did not produce a response on Monday.

Since Brightcore made a presentation to the board in December, there had been increasing opposition to the proposal from the community, particularly residents who live near the school and for many parents with children attending West Patent.

There had also been growing concern about Brightcore’s claims that the approvals would be coming only from the state Education Department (SED) and other state agencies with no local oversight permitted from the Town of Bedford.

Brightcore had approached the district about using the land at the school for a ground-mounted solar array. The array, along with carports built over the West Patent and Mount Kisco Elementary School parking lots with solar panels on top, would have generated roughly 8.6 million kilowatt hours of energy, enough to power about 1,000 homes.

The proposal was generated as part of Con Edison’s goal along with other utilities around the state to encourage clean energy projects to meet New York’s plan of being power 100 percent by renewables by 2040.

Had the array materialized, the company would have also installed monitors inside the schools to indicate how much power is being generated by the panels.

Despite the board’s decision, its statement said that district officials will seek other opportunities to promote green energy and sustainability.  

“We look forward to focusing our efforts on the district’s other ongoing sustainability and energy efficiency initiatives, such as the proposed Energy Performance Contract and development of a district-wide strategic sustainability plan,” the board stated. “Those plans will be shared with the community as they develop.”

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