By Joanne Coons
A beautiful clear sunny sky brightened the ribbon cutting for the City of Saratoga Springs’ 2.6-megawatt solar installation at a former landfill. The project used only 14.6 acres of the possible 65 acre site, leaving room for expansion. The Spa Solar Park was “energized” on August 22, 2017. The system’s 7,992, 325-watt panels will supply approximately 40% of the energy used by the city, this is about the equivalent of powering 370 homes and offsetting about 1,605 metric tons of CO2 emissions.
The project is a success story of engaged citizens coming together and eventually forming a non-profit group called Sustainable Saratoga. They formed the idea, or planted the seed for the good use of the former Weibel Avenue Landfill and partnered with local government to make this happen. There are many beneficial outcomes of this project including good use of vacant land, planning for the future energy security of the town, doing their part to combat global climate change, increasing health benefits for cleaner air, water and reduced respiratory disease, and providing renewable energy jobs.
Onyx Renewable Partners L.P., the city’s partner, constructed the Saratoga Springs Spa Solar Park and owns, operates, and maintains the facility.
Joanne Coons is an adjunct professor at Hudson Valley Community College, TEC-SMART facility teaching PV Theory and Design. She organizes Capital Region NYSES (New York Solar Energy Society) monthly meetings and is a member of the Town of Clifton Park GREEN Committee.