B y Dan King

If there isn’t a lot of natural snow on Gore Mountain this year, skiers and snowboarders may be thanking Whitehall residents for the artificial powder.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced in July that three state-owned ski resorts – Gore Mountain, Whiteface Mountain and Belleayre Ski Center – will use solar power to run their ski lifts and snowmaking equipment.

The solar power for Gore will be produced at a property in Whitehall, owned by John Millett Jr. and his wife, Julie.

“That’s going on the Millett farm,” said George Armstrong, Whitehall’s supervisor. “Gore is buying the power. I think it’s a really good idea.”

Millett said an agreement allows a company to place solar panels on his property. The power produced then goes on to Gore Mountain to use for snowmaking and chairlift operation.

“As a leaser I actually have a lot of say in where they put the panels on my property and things like that,” Millett said.

Armstrong said he wanted to potentially use surplus county property in the town of Argyle for a similar project to benefit the county, but his fellow supervisors instead voted to post the property for auction.

Not only will the solar panels be environmentally beneficial, but economically beneficial for Gore Mountain.

“By using renewable energy to power major operations at these world-class ski resorts, we are building upon this administration’s commitment to expand this state’s use of renewal energy, strengthen this important, job-creating economic sector, and reduce New York’s carbon footprint,” Cuomo said in a press release. “This exciting news is just one more reason to visit one of New York’s premier ski resorts this winter.”

Data released by the state pegs the expected savings to Gore at $213,000 a year and the Milletts will receive some compensation for leasing their Rte. 21 property to the company.

The panels were placed on the property as a result of a 25-year power purchase agreement between Borrego Solar and New York State.

Armstrong said he hopes there are more opportunities for individuals and municipalities to take part in solar projects moving forward.

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