Amherst town board recently approved a special use permit for Amherst Community Solar, LLC to develop a new facility on Schoelles Road. A proposal was presented at the Feb. 22nd meeting and resulted in a unanimous vote to approve. According to Amherst Community Solar’s plans for the project, it will be built at 595 Schoelles Road on a nearly 22-acre plot of land north of I-990.
The community solar developer will utilize 15 acres of land to construct the new facility. More than 13,000 panels have been approved as part of the site plan and will also be mounted to face south, toward the nearby highway. To reduce the impact on the local environment, the plan includes landscaping maintenance, agricultural preservation, and the option for a pollinator garden.
According to Amherst Community Solar’s petitioner, Dan Leary, the developer will be looking at different seed mixes that will help beautify the area. The hope is to keep the front level of Shchoelles Road scenic and reduce the impact the solar installation will have on the area’s visual appeal. The site plan also includes fencing on all sides of the community solar facility.
During the board meeting, residents had the opportunity to comment on aspects of the facility. From their comments, Amherst Community Solar decided to add a split rail fence to the development plan. This is intended to prevent all-terrain vehicles from being able to access the property and turn it into a racetrack, Barclay Damon LLP attorney Jeff Palumbo explained.
Amherst Community Solar intends for the project to be beneficial to the town. Once the facility is operational, it will provide power to the local grid. Homeowners and small businesses are able to subscribe to the facility and benefit from bill credits applied to their monthly statements. According to Leary, the facility should generate approximately 6 million kilowatt-hours every year. With that generation, the installation should serve up to 600 homes.