ELBA/OAKFIELD — Hecate Energy filed a permit application to build a $500 million solar farm with the New York State Office of Renewable Energy Siting (ORES), Hecate announced Wednesday.

If approved and constructed, the 500-megawatt Cider Solar Farm would be the largest solar project ever built in the state, the company said. The investment is expected to create more than 500 construction jobs and will be capable of supplying 920,000 megawatts-hours of renewable electricity per year, enough to power more than 120,000 average New York households, according to Hecate.

“This project provides a concrete example of the scale and speed with which we must move if we are to meet critical renewable energy goals,” said Harrison Luna, Hecate project lead. “We are very appreciative of the leadership demonstrated by Elba and Oakfield town governments for this important ‘model’ project. Our discussions have helped us understand how to plan the project considering the unique priorities of the communities where we want to become neighbors.”

Cider Solar will give local governments new revenue and help to fund essential services such as volunteer fire departments, first responders and Haxton Memorial Library in Oakfield, Luna said.

Initially, the project sought leases and options for approximately 4,000 acres of land in the towns of Elba and Oakfield.

“As the understanding of local priorities grew clearer, detailed siting and study efforts allowed Hecate to refine the project’s footprint to approximately 2,800 acres of land across the two towns,” Hecate said. “Energy from the solar project is projected to offset over 420,000 tons of C02 (carbon dioxide) per year, the equivalent of taking over 92,000 average cars off the road annually.

Donna Hynes, Elba Town supervisor, said Hecate Energy kept the town informed and part of the process every step of the way.

“This project will bring welcomed jobs and needed revenues to the area for decades to come, while serving as an example for how to make renewable energy development part of a long-range economic plan,” Hynes said.

Oakfield Town Supervisor Matt Martin said the project will provide significant green energy into the grid.

“The commitments and financial resources Hecate brings to our community are welcomed additions. With the benefits to the town, the school district, and the local landowners involved, we are thrilled to be partnering with a leader in clean energy, and one that has a reputation of following through on its promises. We’ve been glad to have a cooperative relationship with the project thus far,” he said.

New York State’s Accelerated Renewable Energy Growth and Community Benefit Act created the new ORES and rules for the permitting of large-scale renewable energy projects. It is intended to enhance the siting and construction of projects that are environmentally responsible, cost-effective, and delivered in a timely manner with input from local communities.

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