By Barbara Pinckney
A Florida company whose area business is
directed by a Saratoga Springs man, is moving
forward with plans to build a solar farm to serve
the town of Lake George, even as it waits to hear
if it will also be doing business with the village of
Fort Lauderdale-based Overseas Lease Group
has entered into a 20-year contract to provide solar
energy to the town. Michael Doud of Saratoga
Springs is director of business development for
Overseas. He said the expectation is that a 672,000
kilowatt solar panel system will be installed in the
Overseas is owned by George Badcock, who also
owns Hacker Boat Co. of Queensbury.
“Unfortunately solar takes a while,” he said.
“You have a lot of people involved. You need building
permit approval, real estate approval, facilities
approval–but our hope would be we would have
the system installed by the end of the year.”
While Overseas would develop and finance the
project, Apex Solar of Glens Falls would do the
The precise site of the farm is not yet known.
Doud said the Overseas is looking at a few sites
within National Grid’s territory, including Washington
County. It needs about three acres.
Overseas had originally talked about building
a 2.2 megawatt solar farm on about 12 acres, to
serve both the town and village of Lake George.
That farm, which had an estimated construction
cost of about $6 million, remains a possibility.
“The town of Lake George just signed a contract
with our company, but the village has reversed
their decision to sign their contract, on the advice
of their lawyer, and I believe they are going to
put it out to public bid,” Doud said. “So we are on
hold with the village until we hopefully win the
contract, but we won’t know until that happens.”
But even if Overseas Lease wins the contract
with the village, it may not be able to build a system
to serve both the town and the village at the
same site. Doud said that while that would be the
ideal scenario, the timing will determine whether
it can be done. If not, a second farm would be built.
Overseas also will be bidding on solar contracts
to serve Fort Edward and Bolton. Doud said that
while most New York municipalities do not put
their utility power out to bid, “solar seems to get
a little more scrutiny.”
Regardless of what happens with the three
other communities, Overseas will build a solar
farm to serve the town of Lake George. The project
will be of no cost to the town, but should reduce
its electric bills.
“Typically it is a substantial savings–between
15 [percent] and 20 percent in year one and those
savings will grow over time as utility prices also
increase,” Doud said. “Town residents will feel less
pressure from taxes when the town starts saving
money on utilities.”
The technology is relatively simple. The solar
panels collect about 92 percent of the sunlight
they receive and reflect the rest. The cells contained
in the panels convert that sunlight to DC
electricity, the type found in fuel cells and car
batteries. It then flows through to an inverter–
which changes it to AC power–through a series
of meters and into the utility grid to be delivered
to the town. The remote metering means the farm
does not have to be located near Lake George.
Interest in solar power has increased in New
York over the past few years, primarily as a
result of NY-Sun, a public-private partnership
launched in 2012 to promote its use in the state.
NY-Sun coordinates, and expands upon, efforts
by the New York State Energy Research and
Development Authority (NYSERDA), the New
York Power Authority (NYPA) and others, and
includes financial incentives for the construction
of solar projects.
Overseas Lease, which Badcock formed in
2003, leases vehicles, specialty equipment and
shelters to government entities and businesses
all over the world. Doud said the company recently
expanded into solar energy.
“We feel that the renewable energy sector is one
where there will be strong demand in the years
to come,” he said.