CONSTABLE — Helios Energy Group is considering a second solar project in a former landfill in Franklin County.
Helios CEO Stephen Clevett met with the Constable Town Board Thursday evening, giving a presentation for a possible solar farm at the town’s former landfill on Miller Road.
The Miller Road landfill has a total space of 30 acres, approximately half of which is forested. The landfill itself only occupies about 7.2 acres; the town also has a sand mining pit sited on 5 acres of the landfill.
Town Highway Superintendent Larry Martin noted that the state Department of Environmental Conservation would likely not allow a solar installation on the landfill while the sand pit was still in use; however, the sand pit only has an estimated year of use left, freeing the site up for other purposes later on.
Clevett noted that larger solar installations, around 20 megawatts per hour, would not be eligible for many of the state grant programs that Helios would seek out for funding and would be inefficient for a town like Constable, with relatively few municipal buildings. Instead, a 6- to 8-megawatt facility housed on the landfill would provide an opportunity for a power purchase agreement through New York State Electric and Gas.
Helios previously organized and oversaw the construction of a similar project at the former Malone village landfill; the project eventually housed two solar facilities — one for the county and one for the village, both connected to National Grid’s network.
Clevett said that the state has encouraged the use of former landfills to host renewable energy infrastructure.
“They want you to use this dead property for economic development,” said Clevett.
Town board members were cautious about the viability of the proposed solar project, but said that they would check in with the town attorney regarding requests-for-proposal on such a project.
Constable, in contrast to surrounding towns, has not passed a unique solar regulation law, retaining the Unified Solar Permit model at the state level.
Another solar company, Toronto-based OYA Solar, is currently planning a 4.53 megawatt facility on State Route 122 in Constable.