Frequently Asked Questions

Who is proposing to build the Coeymans Solar Farm?


Hecate Energy is proposing to build the Coeymans Solar Farm. Headquartered in Chicago, Illinois with offices in California and Ohio, Hecate Energy is a developer of solar power plants, wind power plants, and energy storage solutions. The firm was founded in 2012 by a team of energy industry veterans who have worked together for more than 25 years. Hecate Energy’s team members have developed thousands of megawatts of electricity generation projects across the United States, entering into over 1.3 gigawatts of renewable power purchase agreements since 2010 with approximately 8 gigawatts of additional projects currently under development.




What is the Coeymans Solar Farm?


The proposed solar farm is a 40-megawatt (MW) photovoltaic (PV) solar energy generation facility located in the town of Coeymans, Albany County, NY. The solar farm will consist of PV solar arrays, access roads, and electrical interconnection to the utility grid. (See “Where will the solar farm be located?” below for map.)




Where will the Coeymans Solar Farm be located?


On a site between Route 9W and Route 101, the Coeymans Solar Farm will be installed on a site with on parcels totaling 428 acres. Final layout of the solar arrays is still being developed and actual footprint will use less than the total acreage. (See map below.)




How much electricity will the Coeymans Solar Farm generate?


It is expected to produce about 73,000 megawatt-hours of electricity per year – enough to supply about 10,000 average New York state households.




Why build a utility-scale solar project?


  • Less only one-tenth of one percent of New York’s power generation can currently be provided by utility-scale solar (31.5 megawatts of a total 30,095 megawatts).[1]
  • More utility-scale solar is needed to meet New York’s clean energy standard, which requires 70 percent of the state’s electricity come from renewable energy sources by 2030.
  • Large, utility-scale solar projects produce less expensive electricity than smaller, distributed installations. Larger solar projects save an estimated 40 percent in building costs compared to smaller projects – savings that reduce the price of the electricity they produce.[2]
  • Utility-scale projects, such as this one, employ tracking technology that follows the sun’s path to optimize the amount of electricity they produce.
  • Grid-connected utility-scale projects can provide electricity consumers, local utilities and power system operators with inexpensive solar energy – during high-cost summer peak demand.
[1] 2018 Load and Capacity Report, New York Independent System Operator

[2] Utility-Scale Solar: The Path to High-Value, Cost-Competitive Projects, Smart Electric Power Alliance, April 2016.




What financial benefits will the Coeymans Solar Farm provide the community?


  • This project will offer the community new, long-term dedicated revenue for schools and local government. It will generate municipal revenues in its first year of operation.
  • The project will also create a new, dedicated revenue stream for the local fire department, ambulance service and library, supporting their missions while placing few demands on their services.
  • In addition, economic activity created during construction and operations will benefit local building trades, restaurants, lodging, gas stations, and stores.




How will the vegetation around and under the solar facility be maintained?


  • Vegetation management will primarily be done with periodic mowing and trimming. Little or no chemical vegetation control is planned. If any is used, it will be far less than farms or golf courses typically use.
  • Hecate is also exploring the incorporation of pollinator-friendly vegetation, and other co-development opportunities.




How will the solar facility affect air quality?


Solar energy generates emission-free electricity, reduces reliance on fossil fuels and avoids greenhouse gas emissions. Energy from Coeymans Solar Farm is estimated to offset nearly 55,825 tons of CO2 per year -- equivalent to taking over 12,136 average cars off the road.




How else will the solar facility affect the community?


  • Solar facilities are great neighbors. They operate quietly without emissions or water discharges and help to preserve open space.
  • We are working with the community to explore co-development opportunities that promote the character of the local community -- consistent with local comprehensive planning goals.
  • We are also looking at conservation easements and innovative farming approaches to preserve agriculture resources.
  • Community impacts will be rigorously studied in the siting process administered by New York State in conjunction with local stakeholders. Issues pertaining to community, wildlife or wetland impacts will need to be addressed as part of this comprehensive process.
  • The community is highly encouraged to participate in this process (See How can I participate? below).




How will visual impacts be addressed?


  • As part of the comprehensive environmental assessment, we will evaluate the potential visual impacts of the project from a variety of locations surrounding the site. Closer views, (e.g. across the road) can be mitigated with vegetative screening. More distant viewshed impacts will be assessed with digital topography analyses.




Where will the solar facility’s electricity go?


  • Coeymans Solar Farm will connect directly to the existing Long Lane-Lafarge 115-kilovolt (kV) transmission line at two new substations to be built in the southern portion of the Facility Area. The electricity will flow to the nearest local points of demand. So, it is likely that most of the energy generated will flow to local consumers.




What about electromagnetic fields?


  • Electromagnetic fields (EMF) are largely associated with high voltage transmission lines and are not an issue with solar facilities.
  • EMF occurs in all electrical equipment, including household appliances (televisions, microwaves, toasters, etc.) Solar facilities generate EMF comparable to household appliances.
  • Health-related EMF issues have been extensively studied in peer reviewed publications and no links have been found between EMF and human health.




How long is the solar facility expected to remain in operation?


  • Solar panel manufacturers provide 25-year warranties for their product and solar panels have been shown to outperform their warranties. This solar facility is expected to have a useful life of 25-35 years.
  • This long-lasting technology is being deployed with the expectation that it will provide significant and sustainable benefit to the local community and electricity customers for decades.
  • The project’s economics provide assurance of its long-term operation. Most of the project costs are incurred in developing, siting, and building the facility. Once the solar facility is up and running, maintenance costs are relatively minor. To recover start-up costs and earn a profit requires that the facility produce power for the full term of the 25-35 years of its planned life.
  • Solar-produced electricity is increasingly competitive in power markets, so it is expected to become one of the lowest priced electric generation sources. After its planned life, the technology could be updated, or the site returned to agricultural use, depending on the wishes of the landowner.




What will happen when the solar facility ends its operating life?


The project’s decommissioning plan, an integral part of the permitting process, will ensure the property is restored and available for future agricultural development or conservation uses.




What type of solar technology will be built at the Coeymans Solar Farm?


Coeymans Solar Farm will be configured as a ground-mounted solar facility with PV panels on galvanized steel tracker racking structures. It will include rows of single-axis trackers, oriented in a north-south direction, that rotate the PV panels from east to west following the sun’s daily path to optimize power production.

The tracker structure is low-profile -- about the height of corn stalks. We will design and install the project with utility-standard safeguards.

The solar panels planned for this project are the crystalline type commonly used for rooftop residential systems. They contain the same materials (glass, aluminum, plastic) used in many household products.




Is solar photovoltaic (PV) technology well established?


  • Solar panels are non-hazardous and have been deployed in over 1 million residential home across the United States.
  • The PV technology planned for deployment on this solar facility has been in use and continually refined since it was invented in 1954.
  • Over 53,000 MW is currently installed in the US. Solar projects accounted for 30% of all new electricity generation built in the US in 2017.[i]

[i] Solar Industry Research Data, Solar Energy Industries Association (https://www.seia.org/solar-industry-research-data)




How does solar power work?


  • PV panels use the sun’s energy to produce direct current (DC) electricity that flows to on-site electrical inverters that turn DC electricity to alternating current AC electricity, which then flows to the electrical grid for consumers to use. (See illustration below.)




How can I participate?


  • Hecate Energy is working to ensure that the development, construction, and operation of the Coeymans Solar Farm benefits the community and the environment. We refine our project design based on community feedback. We encourage the public to provide feedback on how we may potentially improve our project concept by participating in one of the following ways:
      • Contact us directly
      • Attend our open house meetings. Please see our website (https:/www.coeymanssolarfarm.info/) for the schedule.
      • Request a project briefing for your group or organization
      • Contact the New York State Department of Public Service (DPS), which has a “Public Information Coordinator” to assist and advise interested parties.
        • Toll-free Opinion Line: (800) 355-2120
        • Email: secretary@dps.ny.gov
        • Or contact
          Hon. Michelle Phillips, Secretary of the Siting Board
          New York State Board on Electric Generation Siting and the Environment
          3 Empire State Plaza
          Albany, NY 12223-1350
        • Visit: http://www.dps.ny.gov/SitingBoard




How would severe weather like tornadoes affect the project?


The solar tracking arrays are built to robust ASCE engineering standards. In the event of extreme weather and high winds, operational procedures will be implemented to stow the trackers in a direction to best withstand high winds.





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