Borrego explores building solar facility at Altamont Reservoir site in Knox

Enterprise file photo — Melissa Hale-Spencer

Borrego Solar Systems is looking at the Altamont Reservoir in Knox as the potential future site of a solar array.

ALTAMONT — Almost two years after a potentially lucrative proposal for a solar farm at the Altamont Reservoir fell through, another developer is kicking the tires on the village-owned property in Knox.

The Altamont Board of Trustees at its first in-person meeting in nearly a year-and-a-half, authorized Mayor Kerry Dineen to sign a letter of intent with Borrego Solar Systems. 

The reservoir has not been used as a water source in well over a dozen years. 

Dineen called the lease an “exploratory lease for 100 days.” 

Referencing the 2019 contract, Dineen said, “Once we knew that that agreement was terminated, we’ve been doing some outreach to see if that was, you know, appealing to anyone else.”

Borrego has 100 days to decide if “this is a viable project for their company,” Dineen said during the July 20 meeting. 

“There’s no agreement on terms, or anything like that,” Dineen said. “That is all negotiable in the future should [Borrego] want to go forward.”

The letter to be signed by Dineen said a lease would last for 20 years with Borrego retaining the right to extend the lease by four additional five-year periods.

In terms of rent, the village would receive $5,500 per megawatt per year — with that number increasing by 2 percent each year. 

The economics of the 2019 proposal were based on acreage not amperage.

Blue Wave Solar was looking to lease 63 of the reservoir’s 303 acres, for which Altamont would have received as much as $1,500 per acre per year. 

The Borrego letter doesn’t indicate the number of megawatts Borrego is looking to install at the reservoir, but the state limits it to five; the solar developer, however, already has a work-around should it decide to go larger. 

In Guilderland, Borrego is proposing an 8.84-megawatt large-scale, ground-mounted, solar array, but for regulatory purposes, it’s being proposed as two projects — five megawatt and 3.84 megawatts.

The village would get paid only when the system “reaches commercial operation,” according to the letter of intent.

The option letter also states Borrego will pay “all increases to property taxes directly resulting from installation of the facility, plus any roll back taxes that may be incurred due to removal of a property tax exemption.”

Any solar proposal for the Altamont Reservoir would have to be okayed by Knox’s planning or zoning board since the Altamont Reservoir is located in Knox.


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