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Solar surge: NY's renewable energy push brings big project proposals to Cayuga County

Jeremy Boyer

Mar 1, 2020

t the end of September, 333 active solar installations in Cayuga County — ranging from homes with a few panels on the roof to an array taking up 28 acres in Ledyard — were capable of generating a combined nine megawatts of power, according to the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority.
Absent from the online solar projects currently happening in the county is any large-scale commercial system. But that could be changing very soon — and it would mean exponential growth in the amount of locally generated electricity fueled by the sun's energy.
Three recently proposed commercial solar projects, two in the southern end of the county and one in the northern half, would add nearly 240 megawatts to solar power capacity in Cayuga County.

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Large-scale solar projects under construction in Ridgeway

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 13 October 2019 at 5:08 pm  

RIDGEWAY – The largest solar project in Orleans County is under construction in Ridgeway, with the 30,000 solar panels expected to be operational in the spring.

Borrego Solar Systems is constructing the two systems, which are both on land owned by Ken Baker, a livestock farmer on Beals Road.

The solar project at 3846 Beals Road will be for 3.5 megawatts with 11,745 panels that will be ground-mounted at a 25-degree angle. Borrego is using 16.5 acres of a 29.4-acre parcel. The solar array will be surrounded with a fence, and 240 trees will be planted as a buffer along Route 31 and part of Beals Road.

The other project is for 5 megawatts and 18,295 panels at 3962 Allis Rd., near

Bethel Missionary Baptist Church and the new Helena Chemical plant. Borrego is using 29.0 acres of a 42.0-acre parcel.

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GENESEE COUNTY/Town of Byron passes 12 month moratorium on solar energy systems

Published   January 9, 2020

GENESEE COUNTY/Town of Byron passes 12 month moratorium on solar energy systems 

In a packed Byron Town Hall, the Byron Town Board voted 4-1 to enact a 12 month moratorium on solar energy systems in the Town of Byron while the Town of Byron Planning Board continues to work on updating their codes in regards to solar energy systems.

During the year long period, no new building or special use permits will be issued for ground mounted solar energy systems.

The moratorium period may be extended for 6 months and can be terminated prior to its expiration.

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Editorial: NIMBYism and the need for change

 News Editorial Board

Published April 20, 2019|Updated April 20, 2019  

The Greatest Generation, which came through the Great Depression to help the United States win World War II, championed the ideal of shared sacrifice.

Surviving members of that group have lived long enough to see the rise of the “sharing economy,” where sharing happens only if someone gets paid.

The tension between sacrificing for the public good and looking out for No. 1 comes into play when economic or environmental realities force a community to grapple with change. The latest example is on Grand Island, where neighbors are upset about the construction of an array of solar panels on a 42-acre site.

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New York board OKs large wind farm despite local prohibition

  By The Associated Press

Published December 10, 2019|Updated December 10, 2019  

ALBANY — A New York board has approved plans to build a 27-turbine wind farm despite a new local intended to block the project.

The state's Board on Electric Generation Siting and the Environment approved the 124-megawatt Calpine wind farm in eastern Broome County on Monday. It's the fourth wind farm approved by the board in the past four months, representing 577 megawatts of renewable energy generation.

A new zoning law adopted by the town of Sanford effectively banned the project but Siting Board Chairman John Rhodes said environmental impacts would be minimized, based on plans by developer Calpine.

The state Public Service Commission says the decision to approve the Bluestone wind project demonstrates how the state is working to achieve Gov. Andrew Cuomo's goal of a zero-emissions electricity sector by 2040. 

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Foes of giant Cambria-Pendleton solar project call public meeting

  By Thomas J. Prohaska
Published December 10, 2019|Updated December 10, 2019  

Cambria Opposition Against Industrial Solar, the grassroots opposition group trying to prevent a 900-acre solar project from being built in Cambria and Pendleton, will hold a public meeting at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday in Immaculate Conception Catholic Church, 4671 Cambria-Lewiston Town Line Road.

Cypress Creek Renewables' plan, called Bear Ridge Solar, would cover 750 acres in Cambria and 150 in Pendleton for the project. Agreements have been made with landowners, but both towns and Niagara County officially oppose the project. Nearly 500 public comments, almost all negative, have been filed with the state in the past year.

The featured speaker at Wednesday's meeting will be Charlie Fendt of Spencerport, described by the organizers as a "homeland security master certified exercise practitioner." His topic will be the potential risks and hazards of solar panel components.

Solar power critics have focused on the use of cadmium, a cancer-causing chemical, in some solar panels. Kevin Kohlstedt, Bear Ridge project manager, said in October its panels won't contain cadmium.

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Another Voice: N.Y. loses out when solar farm ownership is out of state

By Kean W. Stimm

Published October 15, 2019

Solar farms with out-of-state owners would drain an enormous amount of cash out of New York State and we’d pay more for the electric power. These huge solar projects are beginning to proliferate widely, so it is appropriate to analyze the costs, problems and benefits and develop a plan.

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New Lewiston solar project is caught in moratorium, supervisor says

By Thomas J. Prohaska  

Published December 1, 2019|Updated December 1, 2019

Lewiston Supervisor Steve Broderick said last week that a nearly 24-acre solar power project at 1815 Ridge Road will be subject to the town's new six-month moratorium on large-scale, ground-based solar panel installations.

The Niagara County Planning Board gave nonbinding approval to the project Nov. 18, when county senior planner Amy Fisk told the board the request was submitted in time to beat the moratorium the Town Board imposed Nov. 14.

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Solar power companies dangle millions to gain support in Niagara County towns

By Thomas J. Prohaska  

Published November 12, 2019|Updated November 12, 2019

Solar power companies are beginning to take a more aggressive approach to gain support for their projects, playing up the financial benefits for host communities.

EDF Renewables, the San Diego developer pursuing the Ridge View Solar project in Newfane and Hartland, has offered $32 million over 25 years to the towns, the county and the affected school districts. Its proposed 2,000-acre project would generate enough electricity to power 75,000 homes.

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