Mount Kisco residents hoping to access clean energy and save money on their electric bill will have an opportunity to sign up next week to be part of Westchester’s first municipal community solar project.
On Monday, May 13, village residents and houses of worship, non-profit organizations and small commercial properties with a Con Edison Service Class 2 (SC2) designation located within Mount Kisco can register for the program online through the Solarize Westchester website.
Mayor Gina Picinich said there is a limit of about 100 customers who can register on a first-come, first-served basis. Participants are expected to save an estimated 10 percent on their energy bills, she said.
The project came to fruition after the village capped its landfill on Columbus Avenue. It is leasing the 1.5-acre property to the Wappingers Falls-based BQ Energy, a company that specializes in using landfills and brownfields sites for renewable energy projects. The company will install a solar array that will generate 575 kilowatts of energy.
“Sustainability is a key focus right now for communities across the United States but the important factor here is ensuring that sustainability efforts generate meaningful outcomes and that’s what we’re doing here,” Picinich said.
The program could be functioning for customers to start deriving electricity and realizing savings as soon as this fall, she said.
BQ Energy has contracted with Sustainable Westchester, which has been the community choice aggregate for multiple municipalities throughout the county, including Mount Kisco, to coordinate the registration and get subscribers on board for the program.
Village Manager Ed Brancati, who has overseen the project from the start, said Mount Kisco is committed to clean sustainable power generation, reducing electric costs for its customers as well as generating extra venue for the village through the lease of the landfill property to BQ Energy.
BQ Energy will be paying the village roughly $100,000 a year to use the site, Brancati said.
Paul Curran, BQ Energy’s founder and managing director, said the project is consistent with the company’s mission of finding a productive use for land that would otherwise lay fallow.
“The Mount Kisco facility is a great example of repurposing land with little alternate value for a really important goal – the local supply of clean sustainable electric power,” Curran said.
Picinich said with Mount Kisco receiving the go-ahead last week from BQ Energy and Sustainable Westchester to begin registration, village officials wanted to provide the public with some lead time to give all those eligible to subscribe a fair and equal chance to sign up.
Last Saturday, as part of the village’s Earth Day celebration at the Mount Kisco Public Library, representatives sought to educate interested residents about the program. Throughout this week, the village will be getting the word out though its website, social media and at Village Hall.
While being the first municipality to offer this type of program is a shot in the arm to the village.
“So being first is a good thing but what’s more important, other than being a leader, is generating outcomes that make a difference,” Picinich said.
The village has devoted time and effort to encouraging more renewable sources. Last year, the Village Board revised its zoning code to allow some property owners to install solar. As a result, a private solar project at Oakwood Cemetery was recently approved by the village that will accommodate an estimated 200 additional customers.
Mount Kisco did not require the zoning change to lease its former landfill site for a solar farm because municipalities are exempt from zoning regulations on their own property, Picinich said.
Eligible property owners can visit https://solarizewestchester.com/ starting Monday to learn more about the program and to sign up. Registrants’ properties must be located within the incorporated area of Mount Kisco to participate.
Martin has more than 30 years experience covering local news in Westchester and Putnam counties, including a frequent focus on zoning and planning issues. He has been editor-in-chief of The Examiner since its inception in 2007. Read more from Martin’s editor-author bio here. Read Martin’s archived work here: https://www.theexaminernews.com/author/martin-wilbur2007/