As inquiries come in for setting up commercial solar farms, the Town of Brookfield wants to be sure it has the necessary setup beforehand.
At a special meeting of the Brookfield Town Board last week, Jim Petreszyn, associate planner with the Madison County Planning Department, offered up a look at what other towns have done to protect themselves and residents. In the last few years commercial solar farms have popped up around New York state as interest grows in alternative natural energy sources.
Petreszyn said solar energy systems come in different tiers. Tier I is a roof-mounted system of panels for residential use. Tier II is ground-mounted for residential use.
Municipalities need to get involved with Tier III systems, which are the larger commercial systems. Petreszyn said towns around the state have shared ideas, along with the regulations provided by attorney John Lange. Lange worked with the Town of Sangerfield on establishing the requirements for the commercial solar farm on Brothertown Road.
A Tier III system should be a minimum of 5 acres, Petreszyn said. Where the farm goes on the full acreage is important, he said.
“You want to maximize keeping prime farm land available for farming,’’ he said.
Brookfield has a moratorium on any commercial development for the past year. Supervisor Loren Corbin said the town will extend it when it runs out in December.
Planning Board Chairman Dan McCoach said calls are coming in from solar development companies.
With the moratorium in place, no development can start the process. Anything done before the regulations are adopted would be grandfathered in and not have…