Altamont OKs solar facility at its reservoir property in Knox

The Enterprise — Marcello Iaia

The village of Altamont-owned reservoirs in Knox have not been used as a water source in over a decade.

ALTAMONT — The Altamont Board of Trustees recently signed off on the installation of a solar farm on village-owned land in the Hilltowns. 

The 25-year agreement with Reservoir Road Solar 1, LLC, which comes with the option to extend the contract for up to four additional five-year terms — 20 more years — allows the company to build a 25-acre solar facility at the 303-acre Altamont Reservoir property in Knox.

The two reservoirs have not been used as a water source for over a decade. 

The finances of the deal are not immediately known; The Enterprise was provided with a redacted version of the contract. 

Christen Smith, with the state’s Committee on Open Government, said the redactions would be appropriate if the redacted figures “would allow competitors an advantage in how they calculate their bids.”

She also noted that “expenditures or cash flow of a government” should be available information according to the state’s Freedom of Information Law so that “once the village comes into possession of the money, that information should be available.”

Reservoir Road Solar is a limited liability company controlled by a California LLC that was owned by Borrego Solar Systems, which recently sold off its solar development business to a company that has the same Massachusetts street address as Reservoir Road Solar 1, LLC. The village’s agreement with Reservoir Road is also written on a standard Borrego contract. 

Last year, village trustees authorized Mayor Kerry Dineen to sign a 100-day exploratory lease with Borrego, allowing the company to assess the viability of installing a solar facility at the Altamont Reservoir property. 

Under the terms of that deal, Altamont would have received $5,500 per megawatt per year, with that number increasing by 2 percent each year.

In 2019, another solar company looking at the reservoir property said it was in the best interest of developers to have the largest possible project on the site, which the state says is 5 megawatts. 

In December 2020, the village agreed to a contract with R&R Logging out of Greene County to cut timber at the reservoir. Trustees were told the deal would yield a minimum of $40,000 to $50,000 in revenue for the village. 

According to this year’s village budget, Altamont has received about $21,000 for allowing the timber to be cut. 

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