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IDA OKs One Solar Project Tax Break

The Chautauqua County IDA met this week at the BWB building in Jamestown. It was their first in-person meeting in over a year. Photo by Greg Bacon

More solar projects are coming to Chautauqua County. This week, the county Industrial Development Agency has given its approval for tax breaks for a solar project in the town of Pomfret, while it has started looking into another solar project in the town of Sheridan.

POMFRET SOLAR PROJECT

The county IDA unanimously approved tax break agreements for a 3.5 megawatt project located at 10035 Christy Road, Fredonia, which is located in the town of Pomfret. Saturn Power from Baden, Ontario, Canada is the developer of the project. The solar project will be on 35 acres of land, 26 of which will be fenced where the solar project will be enclosed.

The development will cost about $5.46 million to construct. It is expected to create 21 construction jobs and one full-time position after construction.

See SOLAR, Page A3

From Page A1

Kristine Morabito, business development manager for the county IDA, said a public hearing was held July 20 but no one attended. She said the Pomfret Town Board has issued a special use permit for the project.

Pat Goodale with Saturn Power discussed the project during the IDA meeting. The IDA met at the BWB meeting in Jamestown, with Goodale attending virtually, noting that restrictions in place between the US and Canada make it difficult for him to visit Western New York.

Goodale first discussed the Pomfret project last month during the IDA’s monthly meeting, which at that time was held over zoom. At that meeting, he noted that Saturn Power has 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.

At the June meeting, Goodale said an anti-glare coating will be used on the solar project, to help both air pilots as well as the local community. At this week’s meeting he noted that they will be planting trees and brush to help hide the solar projects from the community at large.

Now that the IDA has given its approval, Saturn Power hopes to start construction by September and be finished by spring or summer of 2022.

SHERIDAN SOLAR PROJECT

On Tuesday, the county IDA heard for the first time about a proposed solar project at 3570 Stone Quarry Road, Fredonia, which is located in the town of Sheridan. The project is also being proposed by Saturn Power.

The project is similar in size and land mass to the one in Pomfret. It’s expected to be a 3.5 megawatt project on 35 acres of land, 26 of which will be fenced in. Goodale said they have a detailed landscaping plan so residents won’t have to see the project after the trees reach maturity.

Like the Pomfret project, Saturn Power is seeking tax breaks through a Payment In Lieu Of Taxes agreement. The county IDA passed a “due diligence” resolution which allows the county to start investigating the project. Morabito said the Sheridan Town Board has already issued a special use permit.

If approved, this would be the third solar project for the town of Sheridan that has come before the county IDA. Last month the IDA issued PILOT agreements with Dimension Renewable Energy to build two solar projects on a 100 acre parcel at Werley and Harrington roads. The property will be subdivided.

Company officials said they want to build this project using the same timeline as the Pomfret one, with construction to start by September and finish by spring or summer next year.

OTHER SOLAR PROJECTS

Along with the two Sheridan projects, since 2020, the county IDA has approved PILOTS for solar projects in Hanover, Portland and two in Ashville.

The county IDA has started its “due diligence” for at least three other projects. Along with the Stone Quarry 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 in June 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.

County IDA Executive Director Mark Geise said at Tuesday’s meeting the IDA will not move forward with PILOT agreements for solar projects without the backing of the local municipal government.

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 throughout the county, but have not yet come before the county IDA. Morabito said there may be other solar projects in the county that have been approved that aren’t seeking PILOT agreements.

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