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IDA OKs Tax Breaks For Two Sheridan Solar Projects

The Chautauqua County Industrial Development Agency has given its approval for two solar projects in the town of Sheridan and has begun looking into giving approval for another one in the town of Pomfret.

SHERIDAN PROJECTS

During the county IDA meeting Tuesday, board members voted 6 to 0 with one member abstaining for a Payment In Lieu Of Taxes (PILOT) agreement for Dimension Renewable Energy to build two solar projects on a 100-acre parcel at Werley and Harrington roads. The property will be subdivided. According to the developer, both solar projects are approximately 4.125 megawatts and can power more than 2,000 homes.

Before the votes took place, the developer was asked to discuss the decommissioning plans for the solar projects. A representative with Dimension Renewable Energy said that they have set aside $350,000 — $175,000 per project — to be placed in a decommissioning fund. “We will return the property to its current condition after the useful life of the projects, or if for some reason the projects became inoperable,” the representative said.

The town of Sheridan required the decommission plan as part of its requirement for the company to receive a special use permit, which it did receive. The county IDA has said in the past that it won’t approve tax agreements without the local municipality’s approval.

The decommissioning plan states the company will remove the pile driven racking, remove all the modules, take out all of the electrical components, and either recycle or dispose of the materials.

Board member Mark Odell, who is also a county legislator from Brocton, asked that a report be given in one year after the project is completed to see how it is performing. The IDA agreed and will make it a requirement in the lease agreement.

The two projects were first brought before the county IDA last month.

POMFRET PROJECT

After giving approval for the two Sheridan solar projects, the board heard about a new proposed solar project on Christy Road. It has a Fredonia address but is actually located outside the village.

The new solar project has been proposed by Saturn Power, from Baden, Ontario, Canada. The proposed project will be 3.5 megawatts and will be on 35 acres. The company is seeking a number of tax breaks, including a PILOT agreement.

Pat Goodale with Saturn Power discussed the project during the IDA meeting, which was held virtually. He notes that they have a number of projects in New York and Ontario and have been in the renewable energy business for 14 years. The company was founded by two former farmers.

He said an anti-glare coating will be used on the solar projects, to help both air pilots as well as the local community.

Goodale said they do have a site plan approval from the town of Pomfret and are seeking to obtain a special use permit from the town. They have a number of other permits as well, including the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers as it relates to any wetlands, and the state Historic Preservation Office.

For decommissioning, the company has a $105,000 bond. Goodale also said there are no electric storage plans proposed with the project.

The county IDA voted 6 to 0 with one abstention to move forward with investigating tax breaks for the project. A public hearing and another vote will be required before the county IDA will authorize any tax agreements.

Saturn Power is also working on a second solar project in the area in the town of Sheridan, but that project is not ready for consideration for the county IDA. As such, no street address was provided.

SOLAR PROJECTS IN COUNTY

With the two projects in Sheridan, the county IDA has approved PILOT agreements for six solar projects since last year. For the other projects, two are in Ashville, one is in Hanover and one in Portland.

Along with the Christy Road project, the county IDA is considering a PILOT agreement for two solar projects in the town of Dunkirk and one in Dewittville. A number of residents appeared at the Chautauqua Town Board meeting earlier this month opposing the Dewittville project. That town board did not vote on whether or not to approve a special use permit and developers have not yet returned to the county IDA Board of Directors for final approval of the tax breaks.

The county IDA has also heard about a large, 200-megawatt solar project in south Ripley, however, that project has been on hold since last year.

There are a number of other smaller solar projects that have been brought before local municipal boards, but have not yet come before the county IDA.

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