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New solar project proposed for 120 acres in Calverton


Another solar energy project could be coming to Calverton.

sPower, the Utah-based based company that recently built a 9.2-watt solar energy project on 45 acres on the east side of Edwards Avenue, is now considering another solar project farther west in Calverton. 

The new project came to light at Thursday’s Riverhead Town Planning Board meeting during a discussion of the Bolla Edwards Avenue Realty’s 10-lot industrial subdivision proposal on the west side of Edwards Avenue. The solar company is seeking a right-of-way easement to allow its transmission lines to cross part of Bolla’s property underground, before eventually going under Edwards Avenue and tying into the existing PSEG-LI substation on the east side of Edwards Avenue, according to officials.

sPower has indicated that it is proposing a 20-megawatt solar energy facility on about 120 acres immediately west of Peconic Avenue, and south of the Citgo gas station on Route 25, according to officials.

Peconic Avenue is a dirt road extending south from Route 25 just east of the gas station.

The land is question is mostly used as a sod farm now, but there are warehouse uses and a home on parts of it near Route 25.

Representatives from sPower could not immediately be reached for comment.

According to town planning and building administrator Jeff Murphree, sPower has not submitted a site plan application for the solar project yet, but has submitted a three-lot subdivision for it. The town’s environmental planner, Jeff Seeman, has issued a staff report on the subdivision application that refers to the new solar project.

To date, there are two large privately-owned solar energy projects operating in Calverton: sPower on Edwards Avenue, and one by STR Systems is a 3.9-megawatt solar energy facility on 32 acres south of the Riverhead Charter School.

The Bolla project, being done by the same company that owns the gas station and convenience store near the intersection of Route 25 and Edwards Avenue, is proposed for a 24-acre site that had been home to Cousins Paintball in recent years.

The property is zoned Industrial C and currently has a two-story house and several smaller buildings on it. The 10 proposed lots are each at least two acres.

Planning Board members asked Bolla to submit revised plans showing where the easement would be located.

Planning officials also have expressed concerned about the impact the Bolla project will have on traffic on Edwards Avenue, which is already congested.

Mr. Murphree said they had just recently submitted a traffic study, which has yet to be discussed by the board.

Photo caption: Solar panels pictured in 2015 at the plant on Edwards Avenue. (Credit: Barbaraellen Koch, file)

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