Monroe County Water Authority announced plans for solar project

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Monroe County Water Authority recently announced plans to install a five-megawatt solar energy array on its existing property in Penfield. 

Construction is expected to be completed by the end of the year. The array will benefit MCWA customers by using clean, sustainable energy to offset its power bills. National solar energy developer Sol Systems in Washington, D.C., was selected to install and operate the solar array at no expense to MCWA in return for all energy credits generated at a fixed price over 25 years. 

The plans will help the state of New York achieve its clean energy targets including generating 70% of its electricity through renewable resources by 2030. The array is expected to generate 8 million kilowatt hours of electricity per year, which will be delivered to RG&E and credited to MCWA on its energy bills.  

The system will offset more than 15% of the 50 million kilowatts per year required by MCWA for water pumping and treatment.  

The MCWA project is one of the first in New York to utilize bifacial solar modules, which allow light to enter both sides of a panel, increasing total energy generation. Penfield already has a traditional solar array on Jackson Road.  

MCWA, a public benefit corporation, has been involved in several water supply initiatives as part of its Environmental Stewardship program. This project is its first foray into renewable energy. It has received nearly $1 million in grants and rebates for installing energy efficient equipment. 

Construction will include approximately 29 acres of ground-mounted solar panels, and a connection to RG&E’s power lines on the south side of Penfield Road across from the site. The property was purchased by MCWA in 1993 with the intent to use it as a future reservoir site, and a portion of the property is currently used to stockpile soil from water main breaks and various projects. The solar array will not interfere with those activities and a future reservoir could still be planned in the future depending on system needs and growth.