13K solar panels planned for private lands in Calverton

GREENLOGIC COURTESY FILE PHOTO  |  A ground-mounted solar array similar to one that was installed on Gabrielsen Farms' Aquebogue greenhouse.
GREENLOGIC COURTESY FILE PHOTO | A ground-mounted solar array similar to one that was installed on Gabrielsen Farms’ Aquebogue greenhouse.

While Riverhead Town has recently sought proposals to locate solar energy panels on town-owned land — and Suffolk County has already built solar arrays on a number of county-owned parking lots — a number of privately-owned parcels are also being eyed for solar power.

Three solar projects are currently in the works for privately-owned land in Calverton, Jamesport and Riverhead.

During the Riverhead Town Planning Board’s June 5 meeting, the board approved a preliminary site plan for the installation of over 13,000 solar modules on a 14-acre property in Calverton by a 4-0 vote. Member Ed Densieski was absent from the meeting.

The proposal was made by STR Systems of Kingston, N.Y., which is leasing the land from Calverton Industrial Park LLC of Setauket.

The Calverton property is undeveloped and borders the east side of the Riverhead Charter School.

Although the land total 32 acres, STR Systems’ attorney Peter Danowski said the solar farm will be built on 14 acres near the southern portion of the property — about 1,000 feet away from the school and the farthest from Route 25.

Mr. Danowski said the solar panels would be ground mounted (as opposed to being mounted on a building) and STR Systems’ contract with PSEG is for 20 years.

Each solar panel measures 3.25-feet by 6.42-feet and will be installed on an angle, according to the site plan application.

STR Systems president Todd Roberts said the solar farm is designed to produce about 4 megawatts of energy, which he said is enough to power nearly 400 homes.

The power generated will go back into the PSEG power grid, he said.

The project drew no opposition during the May 1 public hearing.

During the Planning Board’s June 5 meeting, member Stan Carey said he wanted the town fire marshals to review the project prior to final site plan approval.

In addition to STR Systems’ proposal, the town has also received applications for solar projects on a Jamesport farm and a Route 58 chain store.

Harvest Power Solar filed an application earlier this year. The proposal includes a 201-kilowatt solar array on less than an acre of land on a 27-acre farm located west of Washington Avenue in Jamesport and south of the railroad tracks.

Mr. Danowski, who is also Harvest Power Solar’s attorney, said the panels will be ground mounted and the company plans to sell the electricity to PSEG. That application has yet to receive approval.

The Riverhead Target store on Route 58 has filed a site plan application to install solar panels on the roof of the building.

Town planning and building administrator Jeff Murphree said energy produced from the project will be for the building’s energy needs.

Mr. Murphree said he believes there are dangers involved with roof-based solar arrays because they make it difficult for firefighters to vent the roof if there’s a fire. He also said the solar panels often remain electrified even when power is cut.

Target’s application has yet to come before the Planning Board.

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