BATAVIA — The developer of two solar energy projects along Alexander Road is anticipating a 2023 construction start after both projects got town Planning Board approval Tuesday night.
Planners granted special use permits for a 1.6 megawatt project at 9071 Alexander Rd. and a 3.7-megawatt project at 9183 Alexander Rd., known as the Pike Road project.
The project at 9071 Alexander would cover about 10 acres. It would be a ground-mounted solar energy system. The ground-mounted commercial solar energy system at 9183 Alexander Rd. would cover 14 acres. The company developing the projects is Renewable Properties, based in San Francisco, Calif.
“Hopefully, these will be going to construction late spring or early summer next year,” Brian Madigan of Renewable Properties, project manager for the two projects, said after the meeting. He said Renewable will be signing a contract with an engineering, procurement and construction contractor.
The Planning Board approved both projects with 22 conditions for each. They included Renewable Properties entering into a host community agreement with the town. Under the agreement, Renewable would pay the town $2,500, per megawatt, annually for 25 years, or a lump-sum payment if the Town Board approves that. The Planning Board’s approval is also contingent on final approval by the town engineer.
Other conditions of the site plan and special use permit approval are that any disturbance of the project sites because of the solar energy system installation will have to be shown on the plans. Disturbed areas where soil has been exposed will need to be reseeded with grass and/or planting of low-level vegetation capable of preventing soil erosion or airborne dust. The systems will both be removed when they’re past their useful life according to a decommissioning plan. The solar energy systems may be removed earlier if the special use permits are revoked or if the systems are found to be inoperable and/or abandoned.
“All safety hazards created by the installation and operation of the solar energy system shall be eliminated and the site restored to its previous condition in accordance with the decommissioning plan within six months of the removal of this large-scale solar energy system,” board member Steve Tanner read as part of the conditions of approval.
“Overall, the project conforms with the Tier 3 ordinance requirements for solar projects,” Madigan told the board. All Tier 3 energy systems are permitted within the Agricultural Residential Zoning District.
“We are not requesting any variances … in terms of ordinance requirements,” he said, adding that visual simulations show you can’t see much of the projects from the road.
Madigan explained that the project at 9183 Alexander Rd. is called the Pike Road project due to two projects being on Alexander Road.
“Our typical naming convention is to name projects after the road they’re on, but since there’s two …” he said.
Of the 22 conditions, Madigan said there were a couple of conditions Renewable hadn’t seen before, but said they were for things Renewable would be happy to provide.
Madigan said Renewable needs to sign the host community agreement with the town.
“We’ve come to an agreement in concept and the documentation has all been reviewed and approved, and I think the decisions here reflect exactly what was discussed and described in the actual host community agreement,” he said.