A 22.9 megawatt solar array planned for the former Calverton Links property will require a special exemption permit from the Town Board.
If approved, the facility will be built on the current 82-acre site of the Long Island Sports Park as well as a 115-acre parcel of vacant farmland.
The applicants, LI Solar Generation, a joint venture of Nextera Energy Resources and National Grid, plan to connect to a LIPA substation nearby using an underground connection on Edwards Avenue.
Representatives from Nextera Energy Resources and their attorney, Steven Losquadro of Rocky Point, discussed the plans at a Town Board work session Thursday.
The applicants are not proposing to clear any contiguous wooded areas to make way for the solar array, explained town planner Greg Bergman. “The removal consists mainly of ornamental vegetation around the clubhouse and sporadic trees on the golf course,” he said.
To coincide with LIPA guidelines, the applicants have applied for a 20-year permit and two five-year extensions to generate power at the site. “The loss of land for the 30 years must be analyzed under a SEQRA review,” Mr. Bergman said.
The project is a Type I action under the State Environmental Quality Review Act and is subject to mandatory review.
Town supervisor Laura Jens-Smith asked if the replacement of panels would require a building permit from the town and if newer panels installed could exceed the 22.9 megawatts.
“The solar is under our [Payments in Lieu of Taxes] program and the PILOT program we do base on the megawatts,” she said.
Mr. Losquadro noted that replacement of panels is often necessary due to isolated damage caused by weather. “I think it would be unduly burdensome and probably not necessary to require a building permit” in those instances, he said, also noting that replacement panels could not be upgraded to a new technology. “That would violate the LIPA contract,” he said.
Nextera project managers Michael Dowling and William Boer said they are hoping to begin construction in 2020.
Dean Del Prete, owner of the Long Island Sports Park, said Friday that he is aware of the plans for a solar facility and actively looking for a new location.