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Solar project in Calverton set to begin this week

Riverhead Solar 2 LLC will begin work on its solar-powered electric generation project in Calverton “on or about Jan. 25, 2022,” owner AES announced on its website this week.

The Riverhead Solar 2 Project, on 252 acres south of Route 25, is a 36-megawatt solar photovoltaic electricity-generating facility. It is the fifth large solar project proposed or operating in the Calverton zip code.

Because it seeks to generate more than 25 megawatts of power, its review was handed by New York State and not Riverhead Town. 

The state in 2020 also unveiled the New York State Office of Renewable Energy Siting, or ORES, which was intended to fast track solar and renewable energy projects. 

It was approved by ORES in June. 

Riverhead Solar 2 was initially being reviewed under the existing state regulations and a public hearing was set on the project. However, the day before the hearing, attorneys for Riverhead Solar 2 informed the town that they would be transferring the application to ORES. 

At last Wednesday’s Town Board meeting, former councilwoman Barbara Blass asked about the status of a community benefits agreement with Riverhead Solar 2, as had been done with other solar projects, and a payment in lieu of taxes agreement. 

Town attorney Bob Kozakiewicz said both are being negotiated but are not complete.