CLYMER – A second solar project in the town of Clymer is being considered on Clymer Hill Road.
The 5-megawatt project by Clean Choice Energy would cover 30 acres and power 1,000 homes. Clean Choice Energy is not requesting any retroactive changes and construction, if approved, is expected to begin in 2024. The project will last for 30 years before being phased out.
Project Manager Grif Jones, who attended the public meeting from the Clymer Town Board, said the site selection process depends on several factors.
“Obviously we can’t just walk down the street and say, ‘There’s a nice spot, let’s put solar on it,'” Jones said. “First, availability of connectivity. The National Grid electricity line runs through the building. “
Jones added that community is an important factor, saying that solar projects are more common in rural areas, especially because of less noise and less space. Other factors in selecting the site include zoning regulations, appearance, and environmental impact.
Jones said the company has taken the time to visit the neighborhood within 500 meters of the solar project to discuss their plans with residents. Jones also mentioned other things that neighbors may be concerned about, including noise reduction, less traffic, security fencing, floor panels, panels will be illuminated, and the panels will not let in any kind of light.
“When you think about solar panels, we don’t make money if they reflect sunlight,” Jones said. “From the energy department, the panels absorb 98% of the light and reflect about 2%.
Jones’s presentation included important points such as money, no new sewer or water will be needed, the land will be used for agriculture at the end of the project, what the panels are made of, that the cost of property should not be included. power, and follow the laws of the sun. Jones also discussed PILOT and community agreements, as well as fire concerns.
Questions from the group included what would happen if the project did not produce the expected five megawatts? Jones said that once the project opens it will generate the expected revenue, adding that the yield drops in winter and when it is cloudy, but the yield is not as low as one might expect. He added that even though it is making less it is still there and it is still making money so it will continue.
“Yields go down a little bit in the winter, but they’re not as low as you think,” Jones said. “It’s cloudy outside, I mean you go to the beach when it’s cloudy, you forget the sunscreen? It’s still sunny. It may not be as sunny as the full sun, but it’s still sunny.”
Jones added that solar panels work best in cold weather.
Other topics discussed included the three-year review of the contract between the company and the town, whether the electricity bill could be reduced, the efficiency of the solar project, housing trends, and environmental impact.
There was a question about trees and disturbance to bat and bird habitat on the site, and the DEC review process was discussed, including whether cutting trees should not be during nesting season. Jones said there is no bat habitat on the property. There have also been studies on the effects of solar panels on bats and birds, and whether or not they can be harmful. Direct research on the mortality of bats and birds from solar panels has been done, and studies show that the effects are small.
More questions were asked about disturbing their place, the answer was that the children would go to other nearby trees. Projects are allowed to remove small trees, but not on a large scale, necessary to comply with the quantity.
Town Manager Brian Willink said public consultation on the project will remain open at the December meeting.