Cypress Creek Renewables and Jefferson-Lewis BOCES announce completion of New York State’s first pollinator-friendly solar farm

WATERTOWN, NY August 23 —Cypress Creek Renewables and the Jefferson-Lewis Board of Cooperative Educational Services today announced the completion of New York State’s first pollinator-friendly community solar farm, Jefferson Solar, at a ribbon cutting event with students, local leaders, and elected officials. The solar farm, built with wildflowers and native plants to benefit bees, hummingbirds, and other insects, was designed to support the agricultural production of local farmers by providing essential foliage for pollinators vital to the state’s food supply.

Located on the Jefferson-Lewis BOCES campus in the Town of Watertown, the solar farm generated nearly $2 million in local investment and is now providing clean, affordable power for the school and community. Jefferson-Lewis BOCES plans to incorporate the solar farm into its curriculum for students enrolled in vocational programs to learn about the growing clean tech sector.

Jefferson Solar is Cypress Creek’s first completed community solar farm in New York State. Earlier this year, Cypress Creek announced a $500 million statewide investment plan and launched an ambitious partnership with Hudson Valley Community College’s Workforce Development Institute to strengthen the state’s energy workforce and grow the clean energy economy.

Jefferson-Lewis BOCES currently serves 28 school districts, multiple towns and villages, and the local Community College throughout Jefferson, Lewis, and St. Lawrence Counties by providing them with programs geared towards career and technical education and professional development.

Mike Stanton, Regional Director of Development for Cypress Creek said, “Cypress Creek is thrilled to celebrate the construction of New York State’s first pollinator-friendly solar farm. Together with our partner, Jefferson-Lewis BOCES, we are providing clean, affordable energy and generating local tax revenue for the Watertown community. We look forward to building on this momentum and continuing to benefit the communities we serve for many years to come.”

Stephen Todd, District Superintendent, Jefferson-Lewis BOCES said, “Today we are acknowledging the vision, cooperation and persistence of many different people and entities to bring low-cost solar energy to northern New York. The Tri-County Energy Consortium, comprised of 28 schools and municipalities in our area, is the result of this endeavor. In just the first 5 months of this initial solar array’s operation, savings in excess of $50,000 have been realized.  These savings will benefit the local taxpayers of each of the Consortium members.

The project received funding from NY-Sun, which is administered by the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA). NY-Sun is Governor Andrew M. Cuomo’s $1 billion initiative to advance the scale-up of solar and move the State closer to having a sustainable, self-sufficient solar industry. Since 2011, solar in New York State has increased more than 1,000 percent and leveraged nearly $2.8 billion in private investments. There are more than 12,000 people engaged in solar jobs across New York.

Alicia Barton, President and CEO, NYSERDA said, “Collaborative, forward thinking projects such as Jefferson Solar will enable students to learn firsthand about this renewable technology while providing significant environmental benefits for the surrounding community. I commend Jefferson-Lewis BOCES and Cypress Creek Renewables for their leadership and for setting an example for other public-private partnerships to follow as these projects help advance Governor Cuomo’s ambitious energy agenda.”