Clymer Town Board Hears Update On Resubmitted Plan For Solar Project

The Clymer Town Board heard an update from RIC energy in regards to the solar project to be set on Upper Road at their latest meeting. P-J photo by Sara Holthouse

CLYMER – RIC Energy is making several changes to its proposed solar project on Upper Road in Clymer, but that isn’t enough for Town Board members to approve a site plan.

After pushing back the vote on the original plan for the project, Clymer Town Board members recently heard an update from RIC Energy in regards to a new plan for the site. Andy Welch with RIC Energy was in attendance at the latest board meeting and discussed the new, submitted plan that now follows the full setbacks outlined in Clymer’s solar law and involves different panels.

“It’s fully set back and in order to try and increase our maximum we have switched it from what was a single axis tracker to a fixed solar array,” Welch said. “So it’s going to be at a 20-degree angle and facing southward.”

With the project now being smaller, Welch added that the decommissioning cost will now be adjusted through time. The landscape screening requirements are also less with the smaller project. There remains a concern with the houses on the south of the property.

“We had suggested seven foot red spruce be included in the plan but we suggest putting those in at ten foot spacing across that about 300 foot southern boundary,” Welch said. “Essentially the project because of the hills will not be visible from many other areas other than if you’re driving southbound on Upper Road.”

After passing by, the project will not be visible in the windshield but will be on the side for about five or six seconds, Welch said. The panels now being at a fixed tilt, it will also be the dark, shaded side seen from the road. Welch said the plan is to landscape screen to the south and rely on the setbacks on all other sides. The natural topography should shield the two houses to the west.

Town Supervisor Brian Willink addressed the fact that in the SEQR agreement for the project it requires complete perimeter landscaping, and he wondered if the agreement would now need to be altered a little bit. Welch said because of the south landscaping it still should be relevant.

Construction of the panels should be similar but also a bit simpler with the different design. Willink said engineering and legal are also still working on the project and that it is something they will continue to work on for another month or so. The visual impact is currently the biggest concern.

“I still think visual impact is the big thing we’re talking about now,” Willink said. “You’ve complied with the setbacks, there is some language in there that we’ve agreed to soften up in regards to resolutions that were in there, so it’s really down to visual aid and the impact statements that we’re looking for.”

Welch asked the board for an approval of the new site plan, but not the building permit yet. The board decided to wait to approve the plan until they heard back from their attorneys and engineers for the project.


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