GLOVERSVILLE — Ampion Renewable Energy seeks to serve a wider swath of Gloversville residents.
The public benefit corporation is now placing city residents on government assistance higher on its community solar program waitlist. Under an existing arrangement with the city, the subscription service shaves 10% off each electric bill and donates $50 for each new sub
“This partnership not only supports clean energy but also provides a tangible benefit to Gloversville residents who need energy savings the most,” Ampion Community Partnerships Executive Brian Buzby said in a news release.
The initiative stems from the passage of a landmark federal law this past August. Included in the Inflation Reduction Act is a 20% tax credit for developers to allocate half of their total output per site (five megawatts or less) towards low to moderate income households.
Because of the new incentive, community solar has become more accessible to populations long barred by rigid credit score provisions, according to Ampion spokesperson Grace McMeekin.
“The fact of the matter is that a lot of solar farm developers want to mitigate risks,” said McMeekin. “That comes in a few different forms, but one of them is FICO requirements.”
About 22.5% of Gloversville residents live in poverty, the U.S. Census Bureau reported in 2021. Per capita income is $22,840, more than $14,000 less than the national average.
Priority placement in Gloversville’s community solar program requires prospective subscribers to provide auditable documentation, including Medicaid cards, SNAP cards to Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program approval letters.
Once enrolled, income-prioritized subscribers can tap any Ampion-partnered solar source within the state’s National Grid utility area, including the 25-acre Ameresco solar array on a former Gloversville dump outside city limits.
Gloversville officials in 2020 first partnered with Ampion, which manages accounting and billing services for Ameresco. Since then, approximately 200 residents have subscribed. For every new subscriber, the public benefit corporation sends $50 to the municipality.
In order to incorporate the new income intitiative into program, city approval wasn’t required, according to Gloversville Mayor Vincent DeSantis.
“We didn’t change a thing,” said DeSantis. “This is the same program that was launched when we went when the Ameresco solar project was completed on our old landfill and provided a tremendous amount of electricity into the grid.
Under Gloversville’s deal with Ameresco, the developer must provide the city a 10% discount on electric expenses and pay a $15,000 annual lease.
The Gloversville Enlarged School District holds the lions share of output set aside for public facilities (40%). The remainder of the site is almost at full capacity, according to McMeekin.
Ampion’s second closest partner site is 27.1-acre solar farm off Boshart Road in the town of Mohawk.
Tyler A. McNeil can be reached at 518-395-3047 or [email protected] Follow him on Facebook at Tyler A. McNeil, Daily Gazette or Twitter @TylerAMcNeil.