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Neighbors Have Concerns About Solar Farm Plan

Residents along Kirkland Avenue in the Town of Kirkland, just outside the Village limits, are trying to slow or halt a process for a 62 acre solar farm on their road.

SMT Energy and Goldman Sachs Renewable Power have been given the Town of Kirkland Planning Board notice for their project; a hearing set for June 28. One scheduled for last month was postponed to give adequate notice to residents.

According to the energy company, the Kirkland project is one of nine community solar facilities planned to be operating next year. “Once operational, the community solar facilities will avoid the emission of approximately 60,225 tons of carbon dioxide per year, equivalent to the annual average energy consumption of 8,030 homes,’’ according to the company.

The Kirkland plan requires a Special Use Permit by the Planning Board. The SUP is necessary because the land is in a designed Rural Residential zone. Information shows that 16,000 panels will be installed.

A petition with almost 300 signatures is on; find by key words on solar farm, kirkland avenue and clinton.

Neighbors sent the following letter to the Planning Board, outlining numerous questions and concerns.

“Below is a list of concerns and questions posed for the Town of Kirkland Planning Board and the SSC Kirkland LLC applicant for the Special Use Permit to install a 60+ acre photovoltaic generating facility on Kirkland Avenue less than one half mile from Clinton Center. This list is compiled by concerned citizens affected by the environmental and economic impact of construction and operation of such a commercial generating facility.

The driving force for the project appears to be simply cost and expedience. The location is flat, relatively clear and located close to existing utility lines, so the apparent installation costs are low.

The state rebate of 10 percent is ending soon so there is an incentive to expedite decisions rather than have a full and public discussion. There is a general community acceptance…

The full story is in this week's edition of the newspaper. 

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