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HFM BOCES celebrates opening of new solar farm

October 3, 2017 | Filed in Archive

A ceremony Tuesday, Oct. 3 marked the activation of the new solar farm in front of the HFM BOCES campus on State Route 67.

“Several years ago, we committed to the idea of building a solar farm on our campus, and today we celebrate its completion,” HFM BOCES District Superintendent Dr. Patrick Michel said. “I’d like to thank the HFM BOCES Board of Education and all those who helped us along the way including Fulton County Administrative Officer Jon Stead, Montgomery County Executive Matthew Ossenfort, members of the Fulton County Board of Supervisors, the Montgomery County Legislature, Fulton-Montgomery Community College President Dr. Dustin Swanger, the FMCC Board of Trustees, the county attorneys for both counties and the folks from Dynamic Energy and WGL Energy.”

Freeman throws the master switch on a breaker panel as students in hard hats look on. Solar panels and the HFM building are in the background.

HFM BOCES Board of Education President Joanne Freeman flips the switch on the new solar farm in front of the Route 67 campus and Career and Technical students look on.

HFM Board of Education President Joanne Freeman “flipped the switch” on the new solar farm, which is connected to the power grid. The clean energy generated by the nearly 800-killowatt solar farm is being sold to National Grid. It’s estimated the solar farm will generate more than $800,000 for BOCES over the next 20 years offsetting or exceeding its future utility costs, thereby benefitting all the school districts in the HFM area.

Crews installed the now operational, ground-mounted solar array this summer on an approximate three-acre parcel in front of the BOCES building. The farm includes over 2,100 solar panels. The panels were installed through an agreement with WGL Energy, which entered a 20-year lease agreement for the land in front of BOCES. WGL worked with subcontractor Dynamic Energy during the project. Federal and state subsidies helped make the project possible.

HFM BOCES instructors and students are now looking forward to the educational opportunities offered by having a solar farm on campus. Students and instructors from the BOCES environmental conservation, construction technology and engineering technology  programs attended the ceremony. Representatives from Dynamic Energy, state Assemblyman Marc Bulter’s office, state Sen. James Tedisco’s office and Montgomery County Executive Matthew Ossenfort’s office were also in attendance in addition to HFM BOCES Deputy Superintendent Dr. Lorraine Hohenforst, Career and Technical Director Jay DeTraglia and Chief Financial Officer Kathi Lewis.

The BOCES solar panels are the first to be put into operation along Route 67. While not related to the BOCES project, other solar panels are being installed west of the BOCES campus.