2 large-scale solar projects headed to Ridgeway

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 13 December 2018 at 9:46 pm

County Planning Board backs projects with nearly 30,000 panels

ALBION – The Orleans County Planning Board voted this evening to support the first utility-scale solar projects in the county.

Borrego Solar Systems is proposing the projects on land in Ridgeway owned by Kenneth Baker of Medina. One project would be on Allis Road and the other on Beals Road.

Borrego is based in Lowell, Mass. Marc Kenward, an engineer with Erdman Anthony Consulting Engineers, appeared before the County Planning Board today on Borrego’s behalf. He said Borrego has installed large-scale solar in Western New York, including a big array for Houghton College in Allegany County.

The solar project at 3846 Beals Road would be for 4.3 megawatts with 11,745 panels that would be ground-mounted at a 25-degree angle, Kenward said.

The project would use 16.5 acres of a 29.4-acre parcel in a Rural Residential District. The County Planning Board recommended the Town of Ridgeway approve the site plan and a special use permit.

The other project is for 6.8 megawatts and 18,295 panels at 3962 Allis Rd., near the new Helena Chemical plant. Borrego is proposing to use 29.0 acres of a 42.0-acre parcel.

The County Planning Board recommended Ridgeway approve the site plan and a special use permit, as well as a variance. The solar array would be 160 feet away from an existing structure on a neighboring lot. The town code requires a 250-foot setback. The county urged Ridgeway to approve the 90-foot variance.

Borrego said the variance would allow the company to maximize the number of solar panels without encroaching on nearby wetlands.

The neighboring structure is an unoccupied chemical warehouse. The solar panels will face away from the building and there is already screening in the form of a natural buffer, Planning Board members said.

Borrego would like to start construction on the project in the spring.

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