CLIFTON PARK — Most of you may know him as the guitarist and vocalist in the local music group The Greasy Fingers Band and a member of the Capital Region Blues Network, but Mark Richardson is also President and CEO of US Light Energy.
Richardson and his team of employees recently broke ground on the energy development company’s first community solar farm in the Capital District. Along Sugar Hill Road in Rexford, directly across the road from Bowman Orchards, Richardson, along with local, state, and federal officials, Paul Tonko, Jim Tedisco, Stacie Dina, a representative for Assemblywoman Mary Beth Walsh, David Sandbank from NYSERDA, Richardson’s team of employees, among others held a press conference to commence the start of this build on a warm, sunny afternoon, just perfect enough for the solar panels to be placed along their planks to collect the bright sunlight.
The Sugar Hill solar farm is located on forty acres of farmland. Over time, it will be used to generate its own electricity. The 7-megawatt (MW) project will encompass close to 20,000 solar panels and, when it is in full operation, it will produce up to 8.6 million kilowatt-hours of clean energy yearly; generating electricity for up to 600 homes and businesses.
The farmland where the solar farm is located will further generate landowner revenue and preserve the land from residential and commercial development. The project is slated to be completed around July.
The project had received over $1.6 million dollars in funding from Governor Andrew M. Cuomo’s NY Sun initiative that is administered by New York State Energy Research and Development Authority. Its goal is to move New York closer to becoming a sustainable, self-sustaining solar industry through their program, NY-Sun. These projects are expected to produce 12,000 jobs in New York state.
US Light Energy has teamed with National Grid on the community solar farm. National Grid customers who wish to obtain few solar panels can receive solar energy through National Grid’s distribution system.
David Sandbank from NYSERDA also gave Richardson plenty of praise on the project. The community solar farm will provide residents and businesses more options for their respective energy needs..
“It’s fun to be involved in these projects,” said Sandbank.