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Utica will still reap benefits of solar project moved to St. Lawrence County

Tom Magnarelli
WRVO News File Photo
Democratic New York Sen. Charles Schumer (right) and Utica Mayor Robert Palmieri (left) at Harbor Point in Utica at the beginning of August.

A solar project planned for Utica will now be built in the town of Lisbon in St. Lawrence County. The city of Utica can still receive all of the power from the site.

Utica city officials are anticipating two solar arrays will be built in Lisbon by Borrego Solar, producing four megawatts of electricity to power city of Utica properties. The original project was slated to be built within Utica on property owned by the city along Incinerator Rd. But it was determined that soft soil at that location would not support the pole foundations for the arrays. The site of where a third solar array could be installed has yet to be determined.

Utica Mayor Robert Palmieri said even though it will not be built in Utica, the city will still be able to reap the benefits.

“All the savings has no bearing on it whatsoever, it’s just the location of it,” Pamieri said. "It just didn't work out. Based on that we had to look at alternative sites."  

If three solar arrays are built, city officials project Utica could save $8 million to $13 million over 25 years.

“Is it moving in the right direction? Absolutely," Palmieri said. "Is it moving as quickly as we all would like it to be, especially myself? No. But it is moving. It is better that it moves correctly, than we move too fast and it has to be corrected later on.”

Work could begin on the solar project this year or next spring.

Tom Magnarelli is a reporter covering the central New York and Syracuse area. He joined WRVO as a freelance reporter in 2012 while a student at Syracuse University and was hired full time in 2015. He has reported extensively on politics, education, arts and culture and other issues around central New York.