38-acre solar farm gets OK from planning board

09/02/2014 8:00 AM |
This sod farm on the east side of Edwards Avenue, just north of the railroad, may host a 38-acre solar energy farm. (Credit: Tim Gannon)

This sod farm on the east side of Edwards Avenue, just north of the railroad, may host a 38-acre solar energy farm. (Credit: Tim Gannon)

The Riverhead Town Planning Board approved a preliminary site plan at its meeting last Thursday proposing a solar farm with roughly 30,000 panels on an area of Calverton farmland.

S Power Solar — a San Francisco-based energy company — plans to turn 38 out of 45 acres of DeLalio Sod Farms on the east side of Edwards Avenue into a solar farm capable of generating 6.3 megawatts of energy.

The company received a conditional zoning variance from the Riverhead Zoning Board of Appeals at a meeting Aug. 14 to construct the solar arrays despite their nearness to the edges of the property.

S-Power, as well as another solar company which received approval from the planning board to build 13,000 solar panels not far away, both have license agreements in place with the Long Island Power Authority to sell the utility power for a 20-year span.

Both projects are located in land zoned for industrial uses, although the DeLalio property is currently being used as a sod farm.

The proposals aren’t the only solar proposals slated for the area, as LIPA pushes alternative forms of energy in line with long-term goals former Gov. David Paterson set to reduce its carbon footprint. Federal incentives covering some construction costs for solar arrays are in place through 2016.

Riverhead Town Board members are in the process of working out local regulations to handle how preserved farmland should, or should not, be able to construct solar arrays that sell power back to LIPA.

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