CHEMUNG — Representatives from Solar Farms New York gave a presentation during the Chemung Town Board meeting Wednesday night to try to convince the board to sign the town up for the start-up’s Clean Energy Partner program.
The program is designed so that non-profits or municipalities enrolled in the program get $100 per customer signed up through the partnership while giving individual customers 5 percent off their electric bill.
“I was unimpressed,” George Richter, town supervisor for Chemung, said after the meeting.
While saying it was his job to be unimpressed, Richter said he did not foresee the town being interested in enrolling in the program.
“We don’t allow that kind of solicitation,” Richter said referring to the aspect of the agreement that would have the town encourage residents to sign up for the program.
Richter added that he was also uncomfortable with the aspect of the program that pays a town for each person who would sign up as a result of municipal encouragement.
“They offered some kickback program, which is not something we want to participate in,” he said.
Katy Reed, director of marketing and outreach for Solar Farms New York, said that Big Flats has already agreed to the program and in the process has raised $1,500 that has been spread across multiple Big Flats’ departments. Statewide, Reed said that $60,000 has been distributed to municipalities as a result of the program.
“We have close to 40 solar farms across New York state with even more being built including locations in Horseheads and Big Flats. The electricity produced from our farms go straight to the NYSEG grid — and all NYSEG customers benefit from the clean energy,” Reed said.
For his part, Richter questioned how much of a benefit five percent really is.
“If your electric bill is 80 bucks you save $4 — it’s a nice talking point,” Richter said.
Reed said the program is important because it encourages people to sign up for clean energy, promotes the clean energy industry in New York, and gives back to local communities.
“We thought (giving money back to non-profits and municipalities) was better than advertising,” Reed said.
Beyond the presentation, the meeting was a short one lasting barely 20 minutes.
“There was no meat on the table,” Richter said.
Aside from voting on the monthly bills, Richter said no action was taken.
For more information about Solar Farms New York visit https://solarfarmsny.com.