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Board approves solar site plan ADVERTISEMENT

Board approves solar site plan

PENN YAN--The Yates County Planning Board approved requests for a solar installation site plan, subdivision and area variance for SUN8 PDC, LLC at its meeting Thursday, April 27.
The 3.7 megawatt $7 million plan calls for two separate groups of solar panels on two adjacent lots at 4450 Town Line Road in the village of Middlesex. Cliff Scher, representing the company, described each section as "large enough to power 400 houses."
The projected date for on-line service is Jan. 1, 2018. Installation will require the employment of 75 local people over a six-month period, said Scher.
The community solar facility will cover 20 acres of a 35-acre parcel of land. It will include two 15 by 20 foot pads, internal roads and an eight-foot chain-link fence around both parcels.
According to the land owner Jan Daum, who is leasing the property to SUN 8, the solar panels will be installed into the ground with enough clearance for sheep to graze.
The solar array will be interconnected with the NYSEG local distribution grid. Electricity will be selling at 10 percent under public utility rates Daum said.
The project began when Daum approached SUN8 after hearing about them through a friend. "I have a south facing steep slope with very poor soil," said Daum. "I emailed them and we engaged in conversation. I toured some of the completed facilities they did for Cornell. I was impressed with their knowledge and the way they work with people."
Daum said the town of Middlesex has been concerned about doing things right. "They did not want to impact the beautiful vistas of the area," said Daum.
Scher told the planning board that the slope of the land coupled with the trees that surround it make it almost invisible from the road.
Critics of the project have raised concerns that the region could be robbed of valuable farmland. There is also a concern about what happens when the solar project is over. Daum said this is a "very important consideration." She said, "The company that does the installation is completely responsible for deconstructing and removing the solar field at the end of its use."
Daum said most of her neighbors have been very supportive. Some have even explored similar projects. She said, "I am very excited about doing something constructive with my land. I've tried to maintain it in funny little ways like wild flowers and hiking paths, but being able to provide renewable energy and still have room to graze sheep really appeals to me."
A public hearing on the project will be held in the Middlesex Wednesday, May 3 at the town hall.





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