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Public hearing planned for proposed Mohawk Solar Farm in western Montgomery County

Public hearing planned for proposed Mohawk Solar Farm in western Montgomery County

If built, the $135 million 90.5 megawatt array operated by Community Energy Solar would become the largest in New York state
Public hearing planned for proposed Mohawk Solar Farm in western Montgomery County
This 95-acre plot in Mashvillen, owned by Malvin Dennis, may become part of the Mohawk Solar Farm if the project is approved.
Photographer: Marc Schultz / Gazette Photographer

MONTGOMERY COUNTY -- The Mohawk Solar Farm, a 90.5-megawatt solar array proposed for the towns of Canajoharie and Minden will be the subject of an informational forum and public statement hearing on Wednesday night at the Canajoharie Library, located at 2 Erie Boulevard in Canajoharie.

The New York State Board on Electric Generation Siting and the Environment is providing the public with this opportunity to learn more about and share its comments about the proposed $135 million project before granting its approval. The informational forum runs from 5 to 5:45 p.m., followed by the public statement hearing from 6 to 7 p.m.

The proposed Mohawk Solar Farm project, which would be built and operated by Community Energy Solar, consists of up to 529 acres of solar generating panels connected by underground collection lines that would generate electricity supplied to the bulk electric transmission system owned by National Grid. The project will interconnect with the existing St. Johnsville-Marshville 115-kilo volt transmission line. If built, it would be largest solar array in New York state.

The Montgomery County Industrial Development Agency and the five taxing jurisdictions impacted by the agreement — Canajoharie Central School District, Montgomery County, Fort Plain Central School District and the towns of Canajoharie and Minden — have all passed resolutions approving a 15-year Payment in Lieu of Taxes Agreement [PILOT] for the project.

Specifically, $134,700 will go to the Canajoharie Central School District, $107,000 will go to Montgomery County, $33,300 will go to the Fort PlainCentral School District, $19,100 will go to the town of Canajoharie and $5,900 will go to the town of Minden.

In recent years, Montgomery County has been targeted by several large-scale and many smaller-scale solar energy projects due, in part, to a 115-kilovolt transmission line that crosses part of the county. During that time, it has had three different policies on how to tax new solar projects.

In 2017, Montgomery County opted out of a New York state real property tax law that allows solar energy projects to have zero property taxes for 15 years after construction. Instead, the county passed a local law that required a 15-year PILOT agreement for all commercial solar energy projects. That policy was dropped about a year later.

During Wednesday’s informational forum, examiners from the siting board will provide an overview of the certification process while Mohawk Solar will present a summary of its proposed project. Maps of the proposed project area will also be available for review. Members of the public will then have an opportunity to pose questions about the process and the certificate application pending before the Siting Board.

During the public statement hearing, any person wishing to provide a public statement will be asked to complete a request card, and the examiners will use the request cards to call people to provide a statement on the record. Reasonable time limits may be set for each speaker as necessary to afford all attendees an opportunity to be heard. Lengthy comments are encouraged to be submitted in writing and summarized for oral presentation. A verbatim transcript of the hearing will be made for inclusion in the record of this case.

Members of the public who aren’t able to attend Wednesday’s hearing are encouraged to submit their comments one of four ways:

  • Online at www.dps.ny.gov 
  • Via email to Hon. Michelle L. Phillips, Secretary, at [email protected]
  • By mail or delivery to Secretary Phillips at the New York State Board on Electric Generation Siting and the Environment, Three Empire State Plaza, Albany, New York 12223-1350
  • Calling the Department of Public Service’s Opinion Line at 1-800-335-2120.
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