SANBORN — Cypress Creek Renewables met with area residents on Wednesday to explain what their planned solar energy project will entail and answer questions.
An open house forum was held on Wednesday at Niagara County Community College to discuss the Bear Ridge Project, which would be based in the Cambria and Pendleton area and provide electricity for about 25,000 homes. It’s projected to generate about 100 megawatts of energy.
The project would involve the company leasing 900 acres of private land throughout a project area that consists of 5,000 acres, primarily in southern Cambria and a portion in northern Pendleton.
Kevin Kohlstedt, the co-project manager, said his company has built and developed solar energy projects that provide roughly 500,000 home with electricity across the U.S. They are actively developing projects in more than 30 states right now.
Residents felt they needed to learn more about the project, but seemed open to the idea.
Floyd Snyder, a resident of Hartland, said he has solar panels on his home and enjoys the energy they provide to his house.
Jeanette Prohaska, a business owner in Cambria, likes that the company reached out to the public to hear their thoughts and answer some of their questions. She added that at this point she is supportive of the project, but that she needs to learn more.
Geri Hens, a local beekeeper, said she is supportive of solar energy, but wants to make sure that the way the solar panels are placed is supportive of bees.
Cypress Creek estimates a total project investment of $210 million in construction and service costs, and the creation of about 300 temporary construction jobs.
The company plans to take advantage of National Grid’s existing Mountain—Lockport 115-kV transmission line, and would not have to build any new transmission lines.
The public involvement plan calls for the solar panels to be mounted in rows on racking systems no taller than 12 feet. However, the panels will be visible from areas up to 1 1/2 miles distant, including from sites on Bear Ridge Road and IDA Park Drive, according to a map projecting the proposal’s visual impact.
Article 10 of the New York State Public Service Law puts an appointed board in charge of siting review/permitting of major electric generating facilities, which are 25 mW or more. As part of the process, they have to consult with the public first.
They hope to submit their application to the board at the end of 2019.
A second open house is being held from 4 to 7 p.m. today at the Cambria Volunteer Fire Company hall, 4631 Cambria-Wilson Road.