Schenectady

Schenectady sells surplus land to solar developer

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Categories: -The Daily Gazette, Schenectady County

SCHENECTADY — The city has unloaded two parcels of long unused surplus land in Rotterdam to a solar developer.

The acreage located off Gordon Road was acquired by the city decades ago for a possible water tower, which is no longer needed by the city Water Department.

“It was an option bypassed by other designs,” said Mayor Gary McCarthy.

The City Council authorized the $500,000 sale to Active Solar Development.

The Galway-based company was mum on specific plans for the 67.2-acre site, but indicated a project is in the works.

”As a local Capital District solar developer, we are happy to work with the city of Schenectady on developing this underutilized property,” said Active Solar President Frank McCleneghen on Thursday. “We are excited to transform it into a productive project which will benefit the community.”

McCarthy painted the sale as a win for a city financially stressed by the COVID-19 pandemic, which has led to hiring freezes and cutbacks on overtime.

“During the pandemic, we have considered every option at our disposal to reduce costs and save money,” McCarthy said in a statement. “For non-performing assets like this surplus land, the disposal of these assets is a benefit to city taxpayers.”

And while hilly and landlocked with no road access, it’s close to major transmission lines, making solar a good fit.

Councilwoman Karen Zalewski-Wildzunas said the land’s use as a solar development project will advance the sustainability goals of the city’s Smart Cities initiative.

“It’s a win-win for city taxpayers and our environment,” Zalewski-Wildzunas said.

Active Solar has completed over 300 solar projects totaling over 75 megawatts of installed capacity to date, according to materials provided by the Mayor’s Office.

Local projects include completed installations at Rotterdam’s Solara Apartments, the Regeneron Pharmaceutical Campus in East Greenbush and a 6MW project in the Village of Scotia.

Schenectady County Metroplex Development Authority and county Legislator Richard Ruzzo helped identify the site for sale and line up potential buyers.

Active Solar will provide the City with a non-refundable $10,000 deposit and pursue project approvals.

Closing on the land is anticipated in late 2021.

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