COXSACKIE — Village trustees unanimously approved an agreement with Hecate Energy for a 50-megawatt solar farm.
The project, proposed for about 400 acres on Farm to Market Road, will deploy about 170,000 solar panels.
“We’ve been involved with the Hecate solar project since the beginning,” Coxsackie Mayor Mark Evans said.
The project originally called for solar arrays within the village boundary, but they have since been removed from the proposal, Evans said.
But the visual impact for village residents remains a concern, Evans said.
“There was, for a long time, the potential issue of visual impact by people who lived in the village but looked out over Farm to Market Road,” he said. “Those concerns have been allayed because the solar arrays that were right dead along the road, where they were highly visible, have now been pushed significantly back to the point where I’m not sure if we can even see them.”
The agreement also included vegetation screening and setbacks, Evans said.
Hecate’s application was ruled complete by the state Board on Electric Siting and the Environment in September and the company expects to receive its certificate later this year and begin construction in the spring, project developer Alex Campbell said.
“We’ve been working with the town and village and they’ve been good partners,” Campbell said. “The project has come a very, very long way since it was originally proposed. Hecate is a commercial entity but it does value relationships with the town in very high regard. To work with the town and come to this place with the town has been a really positive step in the project’s life cycle.”
The project falls under Article 10, which is a state statute that requires the state Board on Electric Siting and the Environment to review the siting of major electric-generating facilities in a streamlined process, instead of having the facility obtain permits from local municipalities and multiple state agencies, according to dps.ny.gov.
The Chicago-based company proposed a $4 million to $6 million local revenue program, to be allocated to the town, school, county, fire department, ambulance squad and library over the project’s 35-year lifespan, according to the project website. The facility is expected to begin operating in 2022.
Hecate plans to recycle many of the materials and restore the property to its previous condition at the conclusion of the project. While the solar farm is in operation, the public will be able to use hundreds of acres of conservation easements and trails.
Hecate has proposed another solar project in Copake in Columbia County. This 60-megawatt project would run along Route 23 and Route 7.