NextEra solar goes online in Sharon


By Patsy Nicosia

Somewhere someone was popping the champagne.
Just not in the Town of Sharon.
“I’m just so tired of it all. I’m just exhausted. It’s taken so much time. It’s always something.”
That was Supervisor Sandy Manko’s take Friday on word she’d gotten—left in a voicemail—just two days before that the 50-MW NextEra solar project, under discussion, and then construction, since 2016, had quietly gone online and was powering energy back to the grid.
As of Saturday.
May 11.
“They were probably too afraid to make a big deal of it,” Ms. Manko said.
NextEra’s Communications manager, Sara Cassidy, said in an email Thursday the 16th that the project is now operational.”
“This milestone positions the Town of Sharon and Schoharie County as leaders in renewable energy and helps New York meet its renewable energy goals.
“We’re proud to mention that East Point Solar [also known as NextEra] is our first large-scale solar project in the state.”
“Our team has worked tirelessly to ensure the successful implementation of this project, and we wanted to thank the local community for their support.”
The state approved the project in January 2021 against near-unanimous local opposition.
Most of the concerns since then have focused on damage to the roads and culverts; the cost of rebuilding and repairs could top more than $2 million.
In her email, Ms. Cassidy said they understand the project’s impact on “local infrastructure, particularly roads, and we are committed to working with the town and county on the final road restoration plan.
“We will be collaborating with the local community to do so.”
Ms. Manko said she was told NextEra will spend at least the next six months removing machinery and equipment and doing site restoration before moving onto the roads.
They’ve been given two options, Ms. Manko said: the town can hire a contractor to repair the roads with NextEra footing the bill or NextEra will hire an contractor.
In either case, an independent construction inspector would be on-site to document that the work was done correctly with NextEra picking up the cost.
In a follow-up email, Ms. Cassidy said “Crews will continue to perform restoration and install landscaping as required by the certificate conditions.
“Road repairs will proceed according to the terms and conditions of the road use agreement. The post-construction road surveys are expected to commence mid-July.”