State approves 120-megawatt solar project spanning towns of Hounsefield, Watertown

Sep. 23—WATERTOWN — The state has granted final approval for one of the biggest solar projects in the north country.

Gov. Kathleen C. Hochul on Thursday announced the siting permit for Boralex's 120-megawatt Greens Corners Solar in the towns of Hounsfield and Watertown.

The state Office of Renewable Energy Siting on Thursday finished its review and granted the permit to the Boralex solar project.

Boralex Inc., Kingsey Falls, Quebec, will erect the project on 2,655 acres with 460,000 solar panels.

"My administration has significantly accelerated our development of renewable energy since last year, and today we are further cementing our position as a leader in climate action," Gov. Hochul said in a statement. "We will continue to follow through on our commitment to develop green energy throughout the state, and these projects bring us closer to surpassing our ambitious climate goals, creating well-paying green jobs, and creating a clean, healthy New York for future generations."

Known as the Greens Corners Solar Project, the sprawling facility spans the towns of Watertown and Hounsfield on several noncontinuous parcels southeast of the Watertown International Airport, southwest of the city and west of Interstate 81. The company will lease land from nine separate land owners.

As a result of the siting permit, Boralex will develop, design, construct, operate, maintain and decommission the solar energy facility.

Local resident Peter Jerome was unaware that Boralex received the permit on Thursday but knew it was coming. During the permitting process, he expressed concern about the project's size.

"I just think it's too big for the landscape," he said, adding that it's "too big to accommodate us."

He credited the company and project manager Andrew Buckley for the way they handled working with the community and him during the permitting process.

"Today's announcement is a significant milestone in the development of Greens Corners Solar. The project will offer significant economic, social and environmental benefits to New York state, Jefferson County, the town of Watertown and the town of Hounsfield," Mr. Buckley said in a statement. "We appreciate the great collaboration we've experienced with the state, our host communities, and other key project stakeholders. Boralex looks forward to continuing these partnerships as we move into the next phase of development, and for decades to come."

The ORES decision follows a detailed review with a public participation process to ensure the proposed facility meets or exceeds the requirements of the state's Executive Law and its implementing regulations in a timely and cost-effective manner, Gov. Hochul said.