Mid-Hudson Regional Solar Mapping Project: Spring 2022

Hudson River Sloop Clearwater, New Yorkers for Clean Power, Scenic Hudson and the Mid-Hudson Regional Sustainability Coalition Energy Working Group are actively seeking a second cohort of municipalities to use the Scenic Hudson’s Solar Mapping Tool to determine good areas for the development of solar and other renewables — ideally with storage– in their municipality, including areas that would be good if grid interconnection was available, and to identify areas to be avoided and protected, such as forested areas and prime agricultural lands. Sometimes solar and agriculture can be collocated for mutual benefit, which is called “agrivoltaics.” The practices recommended in the Solar Mapping Tool will send an important signal to developers and ensure that local planning and zoning are aligned to support opportunities to achieve the NYS goal of 70% renewable generation by 2030 and 100% by 2040. It is very important that solar and related development projects be locally led, not prepared by the counties or state, since it’s within the local municipality that siting and development will take place.

This training can help municipalities go from being passive (and sometimes unprepared) decision-makers to becoming active, informed leaders in the urgently needed transition to a renewable energy economy by making wise decisions about utilizing municipal properties for possible solar development and by encouraging landowners in their municipality to take action, where appropriate, and to know where it is not. David Barton, Building Department Director for the Town of Lloyd, which beta tested Scenic Hudson’s Mapping Tool, had this to say: “Regarding the Solar Tool, it is a wonderful asset for municipalities. A great deal of work went into it. What the team at Scenic Hudson did is extraordinary. As you know, any assistance municipalities can get in helping to make more informed decisions is always valuable. This is certainly one of those tools that does help.”

The first cohort of 12 municipalities to complete the Fall 2021 training gave consistently excellent reviews, including:

  • “It was interesting to see how the tool could be used to evaluate a specific site.”

  • “The amount of data layers within the solar mapping tool is very useful. All of the layers were designed with many factors taken into consideration to allow us to make ‘smart solar’ choices.”

  • “The training increased my ability to evaluate an area from the different considerations: biodiversity, electric utility, land forms, etc.”

  • “I learned about the relationship between land use and hosting capacity and now have the ability to identify potential sites for photovoltaics and to anticipate potential problems.”

  • “I gained an understanding of the various issues facing the different communities and enjoyed connecting with other people struggling with solar siting issues.”

  • “The depth of information the tool provided and the insights into my municipality were especially valuable.

We are again seeking 10 to 15 municipalities in the seven-county Mid-Hudson Region and beyond to participate every other week for 5 sessions this Spring. Ideally this will also involve the city, town or village zoning and planning staff and board members. CAC or ECC members might be interested in serving as the liaison for their municipality. Working as a cohort with others allows for shared experience and support. Given the urgency of the rapidly exacerbating Global Climate Crisis – there is no time like the present to get started to implement solar and other renewables with storage in your community.

Program Dates: Weds. evenings from 7 – 8:30 (sometimes we go to 9) p.m.: March 16, March 30, April 13, April 27, and May 11 (or May 18 – the last session date will be determined by group consensus). On March 2, there will be a watch party for the pre-recorded introduction, but this can be done at any time before the first session on March 16..

Please let us know if you are interested in bringing this program to your municipality, and if you have any
questions or need more information.
Many thanks,

Manna Jo Greene, Environmental Director
Hudson River Sloop Clearwater, Inc.
mannajo@clearwater.org 845-807-1270

Melissa Iachetta, Program Manager
New Yorkers for Clean Power
melissa@nyforcleanpower.org (347) 361-0443

Spring 2022 Municipal Solar Mapping Project: Timeline and Agenda

Dates: Wednesdays from 7pm – 8:30 p.m. (or as late as 9 p.m. if needed) Hosted by Manna Jo Greene of Hudson River Sloop Clearwater and Melissa Iachetta of New Yorkers for Clean Power

Weds., March 2: Kickoff event: (Optional) Watch Party: Participants can watch the introductory video any time before the first Session on March 16 Watch the How to Solar Now event recording here!

Session 1: Weds., March 16: Introductions; resources in shared folder
Part I: What’s the Deal With Solar?
Part II: Smart Solar Planning: List of Documents to gather for the project

Session 2: Weds., March 30: Questions and Comments from Session 1.
Part III: Learn About the Layers: Four Steps of Smart Solar Planning
○ Step 1: Assess Existing Development Patterns
○ Step 2: Identify Solar Opportunity Areas
Worksheet, Tips and Frequently Asked Questions

Session 3: Weds. April 13, with Alex Wolf, Scenic Hudson Conservation Scientist: Questions from Session 2
Part III: Learn About the Layers: Four Steps of Smart Solar Planning
○ Step 3: Identify locations for solar that avoid negative impacts to valued resources
○ Step 4: Assess Development Feasibility
● Hosting capacity: “Generation, transmission, distribution, use”
● Intro Part IV – Data Layer Sources

Session 4: Weds., April 27: Questions and Comments from Session 3
Part IV: Putting it all together: Mapping tools: draw tool on google maps, tax parcels, etc.
● Homework: Fill in Worksheet; Begin to create a local map and/or ranking system

Session 5: Weds., May 11 or 18th: with Audrey Friederichsen, Scenic Hudson Land Use and Environmental Advocacy Attorney; Questions and comments from Session 4
Next Steps: How to solar now, renewable energy/other resources, Scenic Hudson siting guide
● Sharing and showcasing: Presentations on the different ways to use the tool
● Wrap Up: Evaluation Survey, Closing comments

Office Hours: One-on-one help will be available by appointment between sessions.

Who should attend? Planning Board members, Environmental Commission members, Climate Smart Communities, community groups in the seven-county Mid-Hudson region and beyond. No municipal resolution is required for participation, but participants who do not serve on a local or county board or commission will need to contact their municipality so they can have access to necessary documents and plan to share their findings with their local officials after completing the training. Continuing Education Credit will be available for Planning Board
members. This training will focus on including members of Environmental Justice and Priority Communities.

Registration Deadline: Mon., Feb. 28 – preferably, but applications will be accepted until the first session on March 16, if needed. Registration Form is here.

Click here for Flyer PDF