On Friday, February 12, 2021 RER Energy Group and Sunvestment celebrated the completion of the Saranac Lake Community Solar array with a ribbon cutting ceremony. As the first community solar project in the Adirondack Park, local and State officials praised the initiative started more than 4 years ago by local business leader Lee Keet.
“I acquired the last block of commercial land with over 20 acres, we looked for uses, and in 2015 NY State offered Community Solar, the land was ideal,” said Lee Keet, CEO of Vanguard Atlantic Ltd. “The project is fully subscribed and serving our largest employer and 250 homeowners with low cost, green energy.”
“We are so grateful for Lee Keet who believes in projects like this, supporting clean energy in the North Country,” said Kathy Hochul, NY State Lt. Governor. “I am most impressed with this project eliminating 1,697 Metric Tons of CO2 from the atmosphere. If we can do this all across the state, we would feel much prouder about the footprint we are leaving.”
The 2MW array is nestled on 10 acres of land on State Route 86 north of the Village of Saranac Lake. The array consists of 5,424 solar modules and is designed to power over 200 homes and businesses, with 40 percent of the generated energy being allocated to Adirondack Health as the project’s anchor tenant.
Developed by Sunvestment and constructed by RER Energy Group, the project received crucial support from the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA), supporting New York State’s nation-leading clean energy initiatives.
“This project couldn’t have been done without the teams at Sunvestment and RER,” Said Max Joel, Program Manager at NYSERDA. “We have been working together for the last few years and I have seen how hard they work, and how committed and relentless they are in moving this project forward. I realize all the benefits they bring to the Adirondacks.”
“I am deeply connected to all things Adirondack, protection and preservation of our environment. Solar is a key to gaining experience and knowledge to move our way off of fossil fuels,” said State Senator Dan Stec. “This project is uniquely wonderful being the first pollinator friendly solar farm in the Adirondacks. A bunch of wildflowers attracting pollinators is such a wonderful project.”
“Understanding that pollinator species are under increasing stress, we were able to create acres of optimal pollinator habitat by seeding areas around the solar panels with pollinator friendly plant species,” said Mike Roach, Solar Developer with Sunvestment. “ADK Action provided expertise and manpower to help us complete this effort. We are very grateful for their assistance.”
“The name really puts it all into perspective, Saranac Lake ‘Community’ Solar,” said State Assemblyman Billy Jones. “It is good to see, as it really focuses on the community and will benefit the community. The community will actually see the tangible benefits of the project.”
“Human health and environmental health are absolutely linked, the quality of resources effects the health status,” said Sylvia Getman, President of Adirondack Health. “Saranac Lake Community Solar is a wonderful partnership just a mile down the road that helps us do well by doing good and decreasing the costs of electricity we use to care for the people of the Adirondacks is a bright spot for all of us.”
“We are pleased to have arrived at this moment, that we have contributed to the advancement of solar energy in the State of NY,” Said Jim Kurtz, President of Sunvestment. “We have developed more solar in NY than in any other state because NY has more favorable policies than most states, such as the ability to establish community solar projects where the energy created at one location can be credited to individual homes, businesses and other organizations.”