Red Hook to collaborate in state-wide solar project

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The Town of Red Hook will join the state and a select group of other municipalities in a new project aimed at lowering the costs of installing solar.

NYSolar Smart is a state-wide collaborative effort led by the City University of New York, and has been awarded a federal grant to help streamline the solar installation process in the state and make solar PV cost-competitive with other forms of electricity by the end of the decade, according to a news release from the town’s Conservation Advisory Council.

Red Hook has been selected as one of 16 partner municipalities that will collaborate on the project, which runs through 2015. Red Hook will help develop the toolkit of policies, programs and resources by having representation on the Permitting and Interconnection Working Group.

“We selected this working group since it is critically important to address the non-hardware, ‘soft’ costs of installing solar that are an increasing percentage of overall project costs. We look forward to helping define and create best practices that will allow our municipality, residents and businesses to install solar with minimal difficulties,” Laurie Husted, chair of Red Hook’s CAC and designated contact for the project, said in the news release.

“We are extremely grateful to have been chosen as one of the community partners to participate in NYSolar Smart. It is an opportunity to share our experiences to help make solar installation more affordable and convenient not only for Red Hook residents but for all New York communities,” Councilwoman Brenda Cagle told the Observer. “Our thanks go to the Red Hook Conservation Advisory Council for their leadership in local energy initiatives and their willingness to serve on the working group.”

At its Dec. 10 meeting the town board showed its commitment to the goals of NYSolar Smart by adopting the use of a Unified Solar Permit, a standardized permit approved for use by all municipalities in the state to streamline and simplify the permitting of small-scale photovoltaic systems. The goal is to increase consistency and transparency in permitting.

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