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Proposal for sixth solar farm goes before Clifton Park Planning Board

Proposal for sixth solar farm goes before Clifton Park Planning Board

National Grid may lack the capacity to handle more arrays
Proposal for sixth solar farm goes before Clifton Park Planning Board
Photographer: Shutterstock

CLIFTON PARK -- A proposal for a 27-acre solar farm will go before the Clifton Park Planning Board on Tuesday night, despite a lack of clarity over whether the town’s National Grid substation has the capacity to handle another solar farm. The town has already approved four solar farms -- one operating and three being constructed -- and has its own located at the former landfill.

The proposed 5 megawatt solar farm would be located on a large parcel of land at 94 Appleton Road that was previously used for agriculture.

The meeting will be held at 7 p.m. at the Clifton Park Town Hall and is open to the public.

The project applicant is Borrego Solar, a solar company that has already received approval for three similarly sized solar farms in town: one at 267 Sugar Hill Road, which is operating; one at 753 Grooms Road; and another one at 25 Ashdown Road.

Solitude Solar, another solar company, also received approval to build a solar farm on Sugar Hill Road.

The proposed Appleton Road farm, according to documents submitted to the Planning Department, would be built on 27.7 acres, surrounded by a 7-foot-high fence on all sides. There would be about 20,000 solar panels integrated into the site, which is roughly the same number solar panels that will exist on all of the other solar farms in town.

However, there is a limit to the number of such projects that can be built in Clifton Park, said town Planning Director John Scavo.
 
National Grid has provided maps that indicate the area where the farms are being built is served by a substation that can support a total of 22 megawatts of energy being entered into the area’s power grid.
 
With the four approved farms and the town’s currently-operating solar array at its former landfill, the area’s substation could potentially already be at its cap, Scavo said.

He added that National Grid is conducting an analysis to determine how much, if any, solar capacity remains in the town. He said the applicants have reported being in contact with the utility company regarding the project.

No approval for the farm will be issued until the results of the analysis are provided, Scavo said; the board will take a first look at the project from only a conceptual standpoint to provide early feedback.
 
If solar companies want to bring in more arrays, they would likely need to pay for upgrades to the substation themselves, which could affect their feasibility.
 
All of the projects coming to Clifton Park are “community solar” projects, which means any National Grid customer can access solar power generated by the arrays.
 
The community solar concept is designed to allow people to access sustainable energy but aren't able to install panels on their own properties. In 2018, Gov. Andrew Cuomo pledged $40 million to support solar projects, with the goal of having 50 percent of the state's energy provided through renewable resources by 2025.

The meeting will be held at 7 p.m. at the Clifton Park Town Hall and is open to the public.

 

 

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