Cortland County
New York


Authorizing the Chair of the Legislature to Execute a Letter of Intent Confirming Cortland County's Intent to Enter into Formal Contract Negotiations with Abundant Solar Power, Inc., for Development of a Solar Energy System on Certain County Properties and Authorizing Abundant Solar Power, Inc., and the Central New York Regional Planning Board to Conduct Investigations and Analysis Required for a Pre-Development Report for Consideration by the Legislature at No Cost to the County. - County Planning Department


Department:Cortland County LegislatureSponsors:District 16 James Denkenberger


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WHEREAS, the Cortland County Legislature adopted Resolution No. 300-16 July 28th, 2016 Authorizing an intermunicipal cooperation agreement for participation in the Solarize CNY Initiative, AND


WHEREAS, the Cortland County Legislature adopted Resolution No. 301-16 on July 28th, 2016, authorizing the execution of an Intermunicipal Cooperation Agreement with the Central New York Regional Planning and Development Board (RPDB) under which the County would become a Participating Organization in the SolarizeCNY Initiative, a program of the RPDB which aims to make it easier and more affordable for municipalities to develop and use solar energy to offset municipal energy use and costs, AND


WHEREAS, the RPDB, by aggregating the demand and opportunity for a collective 45 megawatts of municipal solar development at twenty-three Participating Organizations, including Cortland County, has identified and secured the participation of Abundant Solar Power, Inc. ("Abundant Solar"), in the SolarizeCNY Initiative via the SolarizeCNY-Request for Proposals issued by the RPDB on September 23, 2016 (the "RFP") and the proposal submitted by Abundant Solar on December 5, 2016, AND


WHEREAS, under the terms of the RFP, and provided a Letter of intent is issued by Cortland County, Abundant Solar will immediately begin work on completion of a pre-development report that will provide the basis for Abundant Solar to determine the feasibility and costs for development of proposed solar energy systems on certain designated properties owned by Cortland County, AND


WHEREAS, such pre-development report will include, but not be limited to, a detailed engineering feasibility analysis of the site(s) along with the submission of the interconnection report to New York State Electric and Gas, application for local site and zoning permitting (if required), application to NYSERDA for the NY-Sun Program incentive, and compliance as needed with the State Environmental Quality Review (SEQR) Act, AND


WHEREAS, all costs associated with the completion of the pre-development report and the related utility and regulatory filings, including costs for Abundant Solar staff time, outside contractors, and independent studies for engineering analysis and environmental review shall be the sole responsibility of Abundant Solar Power, Inc., with no costs borne by Cortland County, AND


WHEREAS, the pre-development report triggered by County issuance of the Letter of Intent will provide a basis for the final solar energy system price negotiations, including a purchase power agreement and site lease, between Cortland County and Abundant Solar, which will be presented to the Cortland County Legislature for review and consideration, AND


WHEREAS, the Letter of Intent and related approvals authorized by the Resolution do not constitute or create any contractual relationships between Cortland County and Abundant Solar and/or other participating parties, AND


WHEREAS, the County of Cortland strongly supports the development of renewable energy in Cortland County and the CNY Region and has determined that it is in the best interest of the Cortland County to advance the Solarize CNY Initiative by issuing the Letter of intent and related approvals, NOW THEREFORE BE IT


RESOLVED, by the Cortland County Legislature, as follows:


Section 1.              The Chair of the Legislature is hereby authorized and directed to execute the Letter of Intent outlining Cortland County's intent to enter into formal contract negotiations with Abundant Solar Power, Inc., for development of a solar energy system on certain Cortland County properties and authorizing Abundant Solar Power, Inc., and the Central New York Regional Planning Board to conduct investigations and analysis required for the pre­ development report for consideration by the Cortland County Legislature, at no cost to Cortland County;


Section 2.              The Chair of the Legislature shall designate a Primary Point of Contact for the project who will participate in contract negotiations with Abundant Solar Power, Inc., and a Primary Point of Contact for Information Requests;

Section 3.              The Chair is authorized and directed to issue a Utility Authorization Letter, which will allow the RPDB and Abundant Solar Power, Inc., to access Cortland County utility records in order to design the most economically beneficial solar energy system(s) for Cortland County review and consideration;


Section 4.              The Chair is authorized and directed to issue a New York State Standard Acknowledgment of Property Owner Consent Form, which is required for submission to the NY-Sun Program incentive application to NYSERD, AND BE IT FURTHER


RESOLVED, that this Resolution shall be in effect immediately upon Legislature approval.


Meeting History

Sep 12, 2017 10:00 AM  Highway Committee Committee Meeting

The committee reviewed the Solarize CNY Abundant Solar project. Mr. Chris Carrick from the CNY Regional Planning Board discussed the project. Mr. Carrick says at this point there is no cost to the county for the initial review of the viability of solar installations on the two proposed sites. He anticipates that the County could save up to $90,000 per year on electricity costs if the project is approved. Ms. Howe asked Mr. Carrick to add the County property on Route 13 near Tractor Supply to be included in the review of viable sites for solar panels.

MOVER:Thomas P. Hartnett, District 3 - Committee Member
SECONDER:Christopher Newell, District 11 - Committee Member
AYES:Thomas P. Hartnett, Charles Sudbrink, Linda Jones, Christopher Newell
EXCUSED:Richard Bushnell, Gordon Wheelock, Joseph Steinhoff
Sep 14, 2017 10:00 AM  Ag/Planning/Environmental Committee Meeting

Mr. Denkenberger explained the CNYRP grant that would allow a selection of a solar panel power provider. He said not all Legislators like solar panels and that without the fifty percent grant funding they would not be affordable to all. Given modern technology it may be possible to save as much as eight percent of the current utility bill and that consideration is being given to put panels at the airport and landfill. The resolution would give permission to Solarize CNY Abundant Solar to develop a proposal at no cost that would provide information necessary to make a decision.

Mr. Carrick spoke of having prepared proposals for 24 municipalities to install 45 mw solar panels. This would triple the amount of solar in the region and assist in meeting the 2013 plan and advancing the State goals of climate protection. The Committee was informed the cost for the solar power is approximately 6.5 to 7 cents per kwh, which is below the current 9 to 10 cents per kwh. This resolution asks for authorization to investigate whether it would be beneficial. It is anticipated there is a potential $80,000 savings over a 20-25 year period. Mr. Carrick noted if desired the project could only supply the county needs or could be a community solar project (providing the community with eighty percent and the balance to residents and small business). A discussion on site selection took place and it was noted it would require being in close proximity to a three-phase power line and substation as well.

Mr. Denkenberger spoke of how it is good to have Mr. Carrick and CNYRP group looking into the possibility of solar power. Upon approval the contract would be finalized and reviewed by the County Attorney's office. When the proposal is complete it would provide information on the final cost of a potential project. It was noted five acres would be required per megawatt.

Mr. Denkenberger said it would not be appropriate or fair to ask that the proposal be completed if the County is not serious about the project. Mr. Newell expressed concern that the panels could be out-of-date within a ten-year period and asked if they would be replaced. Mr. Denkenberger also spoke of the advancement of technology and it may not be good to turn our backs on the program.

MOVER:James Denkenberger, Chair
SECONDER:Sandra Price, Vice Chair
AYES:Amy Cobb, Sandra Price, Raylynn Knolls, James Denkenberger, Christopher Newell
Sep 28, 2017 6:00 PM Video Cortland County Legislature Legislative Session

Mr. Carrick with the Central New York Regional Planning and Development Board discussed the non-binding letter of intent that would move the solar panel project to the next step. He said the next step is for the company to assess the viability of a solar project on County property, however he emphasized that this is a non-binding commitment. Mr. Carrick said the preliminary research suggests the County can save $90,000 per year in electricity costs. Ms. Jones asked which sites would be studied for this project. Mr. Carrick said the studies would focus on the Landfill and property adjacent to the County Airport. Both arrays would be 2 mega watts each. Ms. Cobb asked how many panels would be installed if this project moves ahead. Mr. Carrick said approximately 8,000 panels would be installed covering roughly 12 acres. Mr. Wagner said he was voting no because while there is no cost now, this proposal may be costly in the future due to maintenance. Mr. Carrick said the operator of the system would be responsible for maintenance of the solar arrays and would sell the County electricity at 6-7 cents per kilowatt.

MOVER:James Denkenberger, District 16
SECONDER:John R Troy, Legislative District 1
AYES:John R Troy, Amy Cobb, Thomas P. Hartnett, Richard Bushnell, Mary Ann Discenza, Raylynn Knolls, Donnell Boyden, Christopher Newell, Joseph Steinhoff, Sandra Price, James Denkenberger
NAYS:Linda Jones, Gordon Wheelock, Kevin Whitney, George Wagner, Charles Sudbrink
ABSENT:Luke Snyder