OLEAN, NY — Working collaboratively with BQ Energy, New York State and National Grid, Olean is attempting to distill the good from a bad situation.

Representatives from these four groups cut the ribbon on a 4,070 kW DC solar electric system named the Homeridae Project Wednesday morning. The new energy system is located on property on Homer Street that was previously a brownfield.

“It reuses land that formerly was in industrial use as part of an oil refinery and oil storage site,” Paul Curran, managing director at BQ Energy, which developed and now owns the energy system, said in an email.

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Olean Mayor William J. Aiello said that the project is a win for both the environment and the local citizens.

“Converting a brownfield to a solar farm is another example of Olean working towards making our city more sustainable,” he said.

This project is expected to generate about as much electricity as what is used in 400 New York State homes every year.

Curran said the project will provide more benefits to Olean beyond a repurposed brownfield site.

“This project sells electric power credits to the City of Olean under a long-term contract that is financially attractive to the city,” Curran said. “In addition, the project has executed a Payment In Lieu of Taxes agreement with the Cattaraugus County IDA (Industrial Development Agency). Both of these benefits are significant as they are being derived from real estate that had few viable alternate commercial uses.”

Curran said not many other options were available for the Homer Street property because it was undesirable due to its previous use and its nearness to the highway. However, nearby infrastructure made the location attractive to BQ Energy for a solar electric system.

National Grid Jurisdiction Manager Paul Kazmierczak said that his company looks forward to working with businesses such as BQ Energy to provide more sustainable energy.

“The Homeridae project is the latest in a series of clean energy projects that we’ve supported in the City of Olean and represents the most recent step we’ve taken with New York State, local municipalities and customers toward creating a clean energy future,” Kazmierczak said.

This new energy system also will help New York State reach a goal.

“Last month New York State passed legislation that requires 70 percent of the state’s electric power to come from renewable resources by the year 2030, and 100 percent of the power to come from renewables by the year 2040,” Curran said. “Solar and wind projects are great if they are properly sited. The City of Olean has led by example here in encouraging the reuse of brownfield properties in its communities for this type of application.”

Curran then said that there are many similar undesirable sites across the state that could be repurposed in a manner like what occurred in the Homeridae Project.

“There are several thousand such landfill and brownfield properties in New York State, many of which are located near already existing electric power infrastructure because of the historical site use,” he said. “The replication of this brownfield redevelopment throughout New York State will be important in achieving this renewable energy goal in a manner that demonstrates responsible overall public policy.”

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