Solar project eyed for Plattekill

By Ella Connors
Posted 7/3/24

The community is becoming greener as the Plattekill Planning Board continues to make progress on developing a solar project in Highland.

Carson Power — a company building solar and storage …

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Solar project eyed for Plattekill


The community is becoming greener as the Plattekill Planning Board continues to make progress on developing a solar project in Highland.

Carson Power — a company building solar and storage power plants — is making strides to develop this project as part of its progress in building out widespread distributed generation solar work across New York state. An eight MWac (megawatts of alternating currents) community solar project, Ohioville Solar A & B LLC will be located at 139 Crow Hill Road. According to Nicholas Cunha, a senior project developer at Carson Power, the Highland undertaking marks a significant element of New York’s 2019 Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act in order to achieve an emissions-free electrical system by 2040.

Carson Power has been working with the Plattekill planning board to evaluate certain criteria in order to ensure the development will not have an adverse environmental impact, called the Seqr process.

“Endangered species, stormwater management, visual impact, historical resource impact — those are all the things we have to kind of prove we aren’t having a negative impact on,” Cunha said.

Solar farms generally consist of large chunks of land holding solar panels that harness energy from the sun and convert it into electricity.

This project has been in the works for a little over a year, as the previous landowner was hoping to transition the use of his land and had approached Carson Power with interest. Cunha expressed gratitude towards planning board chairman Richard Gorres and MHE engineering, as well as other members of the board who have contributed to making this development possible, especially in ensuring it complies with the town’s zoning codes and regulations as well as addresses the needs of the broader community.

In New York, whenever over an acre of land if disturbed, a planning board or similar jurisdictional body must review. At Tuesday night’s meeting, the engineering firm had looked over the stormwater plan and some of the site plan adjustments made, which they walked through with Cunha.

“What did come out of it is they referred the project to the county for review, so that was kind of the major outcome of that meeting,” Cunha said.

At the meeting, the board was also discussing diversifying the tree species in the location in order to prevent all of the trees from dying out should they fall victim to any kind of invasive bug or other issue. The Ohioville Solar plans also state that the project is located in a New York agricultural district, so contractors must comply with guidelines set forth for solar energy work, like taking soil samples to a laboratory per Cornell University soil testing guidelines before removing any topsoil from the location.

The project plans also included some more general notes like mandating the contractor restore “lawns, driveways, culverts, signs and other public or private property damaged or removed to at least as good a condition as before.” They must additionally be held accountable for dewatering and upholding the maintenance of surface drainage and groundwater throughout the course of construction, among other responsibilities.

Increased local, distributed generation makes the grid more resilient while also providing discounted electricity toward locals who decide to subscribe to the project upon its completion and operation. Residents would likely get a letter in the mail asking if they would like to subscribe and opt into having their electricity be contrived from a renewable resource, as it is a shared asset.

“If you opt in, then you usually get some benefits from that,” Cunha said. “Every utility is different. Usually it is a discount off your bill. In essence, that is how community solar works, and that is what would come out of this project.”

While the team is still developing several projects across the Hudson Valley, Cunha highlighted their recently received conditional approval for the Fair Oaks Solar project from the Wallkill Planning Board.

There is no set date for a public hearing as of now, but Cunha said they are looking at possibly scheduling one for some time in August if everything goes well.