Get the Facts
Learn more about solar energy here! Below are answers to some of the most-asked questions about solar energy and the South Ripley Solar & Storage Project.
The South Ripley Solar Project will include a 20 megawatt (MW) AC battery storage component. The project will use lithium ion batteries, which is the same type of battery found in everyday consumer electronics, medical devices, and electric vehicles.
Rechargeable battery cells, very similar in composition to the small batteries used in consumer electronics, are arranged into protective cases, called modules, which are then arranged into groups of modules, called racks. These racks are stored in either containers or a building and are connected to the electrical grid. This will allow us to charge and discharge from the battery storage project when there is a demand. An analogy is that the arrangement of battery racks is similar to a shoe rack in a shoe store; the battery cells are the shoes, the modules are the shoe box, and the rack is where you put the shoe box.
In June 2019, the New York State Department of State issued its 2019 Energy Storage System Supplement, which included amendments to the NYS Fire Prevention and Building Code, as well as amendments to the 2015 International Fire Code and International Building Code. Further, the New York City Fire Department issued guidance on the design, installation, and emergency management response procedures for outdoor stationary storage battery systems. Permits from the Fire Department are required for medium and large battery systems. This guidance was officially adopted in November 2019.2
NYSERDA has drafted a Battery Energy Storage System Guidebook, which includes a model zoning law that has been made available to help local government officials draft and adopt legislation and regulations to responsibly accommodate battery energy storage systems in their communities. The guidebook contains information, tools, and step-by-step instructions to support local governments to ensure efficiency, transparency, and safety in their communities.3
Prior to operation, we will develop an Emergency Response Plan in accordance with industry best practices, which will outline the procedures to be employed should an emergency arise at the project site. We will work closely and collaboratively with the local fire departments and EMS. We will provide pre-construction training to all emergency response personnel, which includes a description of the project, any potential construction risks, and the role of emergency responders should an incident occur. After construction is complete, we will host the emergency response personnel for a site visit to make sure they are familiar with the system and our Emergency Response Plan. Additionally, ConnectGen will ensure that annual emergency response training sessions are available to all local departments and authorities as needed.
At the end of 2019, 1300 MW of batteries had been installed on the U.S. electric grid.4 Energy storage has a safety record that is similar to or better than other electricity generation, distribution, or management methods.5 Driven by the need for grid resiliency and reliability, grid-scale battery storage is projected to have a thirteen-fold increase over the next six years.6
Battery manufacturers perform extensive testing before deployment, and energy storage systems are required to be designed to high safety standards. These systems are designed with multiple layers of risk monitoring and mitigation in place. In addition, the site will be remotely monitored 24/7 by trained personnel to ensure no abnormalities are occurring on the system. Internal fire suppression and ventilation systems are designed as backstop protection should any abnormality occur. Moreover, the remote control center has the ability to emergency stop the system in addition to the on-site safety design measures.
Fencing will be erected to keep the public at a safe distance from our storage facility. Only trained personnel will be allowed inside the fenced area to minimize any risk.
In addition, we will comply with the safety measures required by the Federal Regulatory Energy Commission, the North American Electric Reliability Corporation, and applicable regional and local laws. We are also bound by the International Building Code, the International Fire Code, National Fire Protection Association codes and standards and state fire regulations.
The risk of explosion for a battery storage project is extremely low.7 ESRG, recognized experts in energy storage safety,8 typically marks safe zones just outside the fence line for first responders, with consideration given to wind direction up to an additional 100 feet. During large-scale abuse and fire testing conducted at ESRG’s facility, safe zones for test observers are typically not more than 100 feet from the facility.9 Current testing data does not support the notion that lithium ion battery fires are any more toxic than a typical structure fire.10
The materials used in battery energy storage projects are similar to those found in any lithium- ion based battery used in every-day items, such as cell phones, toys, and medical equipment. The active materials are stored in individually secured cells stacked in racks separated into rows throughout multiple containers. Battery manufacturers design the systems to contain any release within the overall battery storage system enclosures, which means in the rare case there is an event involving one battery, protections are in place to keep it from spreading to one of the other batteries.
Battery manufacturers perform extensive testing on their products before deployment, and energy storage systems are required to be designed to high safety standards.11 These systems are designed with multiple layers of risk monitoring and mitigation in place. In addition, the site will be remotely monitored 24/7 by trained personnel at an operations control center to ensure no abnormalities are occurring on the system. Internal fire suppression and ventilation systems are designed as backstop protection should any abnormality occur.12 Moreover, the remote-control center has the ability to emergency stop the system in addition to the on-site safety design measures.
Lithium ion battery fires in the US are exceedingly rare due to increasingly stringent design and control systems. In early 2019, a battery storage system experienced a thermal runaway event in Arizona, which involved a system not compliant with any existing New York codes or standards. After that event, the energy storage industry, in partnership with the National Fire Protection Agency developed expanded regulations and testing recommendations for manufacturers and permitting authorities.13 All of the containers used for the storage element of the South Ripley Solar Project will adhere to NFPA 855 standards, all applicable system and component UL standards, International Fire Code 2018 standards (and 2021 when released), and the 2019 New York Energy Storage System Supplement to the New York State Uniform Fire Prevention and Building Codes. Internal temperatures will be continuously monitored, and if they reach a certain level, which is well within the normal temperature threshold, a safety buffer will be preemptively deployed to back down the units to prevent a temperature breach which could lead to a fire.
We will work closely and collaboratively with the local departments and authorities. We will provide emergency response training tailored to the specific system to all emergency response personnel, which includes a description of the project, any potential construction risks, and the role of emergency responders should an incident occur. After construction is complete, we will host the emergency response personnel for a site visit to make sure they are familiar with the system and our Emergency Response Plan. Additionally, ConnectGen will ensure that annual emergency response training sessions are available to all local departments and ties as needed.
Prior to operation, we will develop an Emergency Response Plan in accordance with industry best practices, which will outline the response procedures to be employed should an emergency arise at the project site. We will work closely and collaboratively with the local departments and authorities. We provide pre-construction training to all emergency response personnel, which includes a description of the project, any potential construction risks, and the role of emergency responders should an incident occur. After construction is complete, we will host the emergency response personnel for a site visit to make sure they are familiar with the system and our Emergency Response Plan.
Large-scale energy storage improves the way that we generate, deliver and consume energy, providing many benefits14:
- Energy storage has minimal developmental impacts. Storage projects occupy little land, can be screened to minimize visual impacts, are emission-free, and have a low noise profile.
- Energy storage smooths out the electricity supply from energy sources with variable outputs, ensuring that the energy generation meets energy demand.
- Energy storage has a rapid response time, discharging power to the grid quickly to maintain grid stability when rapid changes occur in energy demand.
- Energy storage cuts energy costs by reducing economic losses from major and minor power outages and allowing cheap energy to be stored for later use.
- Energy storage allows for energy diversification by allowing it to be consumed on demand and at a controlled rate.
No. The US power sector is in the midst of profound transformation to cleaner, more modern infrastructure. The role of cost-effective storage in enabling the clean energy transformation of the electric grid is becoming a central tenet in electricity planning and policy across the US. As a result, energy storage is being increasingly deployed in markets all across the US, augmenting resources from wind, solar and hydro to nuclear and fossil fuels.15 At the end of 2019, more than 50 energy storage projects, totaling over 700 megawatts, were installed or contracted throughout New York State alone.16 Further, according to a recent report from Wood Mackenzie, as of Q3 2020, the top three energy storage states for non-residential storage are California, Massachusetts, and Hawaii.17
Depending on the size of the project, construction typically takes 4 to 6 months.
We will provide signs that include the project name, address, and emergency contact number, in accordance with the various regulatory authorities, such as the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, North American Electric Reliability Corporation, International Building Code, International Fire Code, National Fire Protection Association, Occupational Safety and Health Administration, and New York State Uniform Fire Protection and Building Code, that require signage at all energy storage facilities. We will ensure that the signs at our sites meet all current requirements and provide sufficient safety notices as well as an emergency contact number.
No, the South Ripley Solar Project is a merchant generator of renewable energy, not a fully regulated public utility company with an obligation to serve utility customers, and therefore does not have the power of eminent domain in New York State. Eminent domain is defined as the right of the government to take private property for a public purpose.1 ConnectGen does not have the right to utilize eminent domain and will secure all land rights for the project through voluntary contractual agreements with project participants.
Additionally, in general, New York State law prohibits investor-owned utilities such as National Grid from owning large-scale generation facilities, like the South Ripley Solar Project. While National Grid may have the ability to take property by eminent domain in order to provide safe and reliable electric transmission and distribution service, current law would not allow National Grid to utilize eminent domain to take a private merchant generation projects. Therefore, eminent domain will not be used under any circumstance for the South Ripley Solar Project.
ConnectGen expects to use approximately 2,000 acres for the South Ripley Solar project. Of that, only 1,250 to 1,500 acres are expected to host project infrastructure, and the project will be located wholly within the town boundaries of Ripley. Construction of solar projects is typically low impact and does not typically require significant site work or soil disturbance. ConnectGen aims to further minimize potential environmental impacts by avoiding wetlands, limiting tree clearing, and working with participating farmers to utilize less productive agricultural fields. While ConnectGen has made sure to keep landowners and stakeholders in neighboring towns informed about the development of the project, the project boundaries have always been and will remain within Ripley.
Solar power is now one of the cheapest new sources of electricity in most of the world due to declining equipment costs, improved technologies, and public policy supporting the procurement of renewable energy across the country.2
In the last decade, the cost to install solar has dropped by more than 70%, and as of Q2 2020, prices are at their lowest historical level across all market segments.3 According to Lazard’s Levelized Cost of Energy Analysis – Version 14.0 (2020), even without tax credits, new solar resources have a levelized cost of energy in the range of 3.1¢/kWh – 4.2¢/kWh for large-scale crystalline solar. This range falls below the levelized cost of energy for new coal or gas combined cycle power production.4 These results have been bolstered by the International Energy Agency’s World Energy Outlook 2020,5 which found that “For projects with low-cost financing that tap high-quality resources, solar photovoltaic (PV) is now the cheapest source of electricity in history.”6
Adding to the growing appeal, solar energy is uniquely able to offer electricity at a fixed-price contract over the life of the project. Solar energy has no fuel cost and therefore no fuel price risk, allowing it to act as a hedge against future volatility of natural gas prices.7 Levelized power purchase agreements for commercial-scale solar projects fell to $24/MWh in 2019, down 17% from 2018 and more than 80% since 2010.8
Solar photovoltaic (PV) panels are constructed of silicon, tempered glass, electrical wiring, and a metal frame. Silicon, an element most commonly found in sand, has conductive properties that allow it to absorb and convert sunlight into electricity. When light interacts with a silicon cell, it causes electrons to be set into motion, which initiates a flow of electric current in a process known as the “photovoltaic effect”.9
Solar power is a reliable source of energy, with solar projects being installed in all 50 states across the US.10 New York State, which has a considerable amount of solar potential, has consistently been in the top 10 US solar markets and is projected to install 4,367 megawatts (MW) over the next five years, all above the 40th parallel.11
A solar project will produce power most days of the year, even under cloudy conditions, and in some cases, clouds can result in better panel performance. Further, a recent industry trend is the use of bifacial solar panels, which have solar cells that capture sunlight from the front of the panel as well as sunlight that is reflected off the ground. These panels have been shown to yield 11% more energy than standard solar panels in a tilted, ground-mounted solar installation.12 We have measured and analyzed over a year of on-site solar and weather data in the project area to confirm that the solar resource in South Ripley can support solar project operations, with production estimates at least 500% higher than what has been claimed in some public comments. ConnectGen is contractually bound to the anticipated production estimates through its REC contract with NYSERDA.
No electricity source runs 100% of the time, including coal, gas, and nuclear plants. While solar is variable as a power resource, its variability can be predictably forecast and used to complement other generation sources. Grid operators have decades of experience managing changes in supply and demand, including the gradual, predictable changes in solar output.13
Further, the combination of solar + storage makes solar power available when the sun isn’t shining. The batteries charge when the resource is abundant and stores the excess energy, releasing it during peak hours when the solar resource is not readily available.
A solar project is a large group of solar panels that operate together as one power generation facility, delivering electricity to the existing electric grid. Solar projects are typically arranged in north to south rows with access buffers between each row, not less than 8 feet wide. In addition, access roads will be built between major panel areas to allow operations and maintenance staff to access the solar panels.
A panel array, which includes both PV panels and mounting racks, typically stands around 12 feet tall. The mounting racks are supported by steel pile foundations generally set up to 8 feet into the ground without the use of concrete. Panel designs currently being evaluated by ConnectGen rotate slowly from east to west once a day, keeping the sun at a 90-degree angle from the panels to ensure maximum energy is absorbed. Each section of solar panels is typically fenced off to ensure security and safe operation.
Other project infrastructure present at a solar project includes common electrical equipment such as inverters and transformers, and the electrical equipment necessary to deliver energy to the existing electrical grid such as underground and overhead transmission lines. ConnectGen’s project will also include a battery storage facility (see Storage FAQs for more information).
ConnectGen has signed a contract with the Jamestown Board of Public Utilities (BPU) for Renewable Energy Credits produced by the project, which will help the Jamestown BPU meet its regulatory requirements pursuant to New York State’s Clean Energy Standard Program. ConnectGen does not currently have a power purchase agreement to deliver the power generated at the South Ripley Solar Project to other areas of New York. In addition, the energy consumption tends to take place near the generation sources, therefore the energy produced by the project will likely be utilized locally through the New York State electric grid.
Solar projects do not burn fossil fuels to generate electricity, and as a result, do not emit any air pollutants such as carbon dioxide, sulfur dioxide, nitrogen oxide, or particulate matter. Both fossil fuel and non-fossil fuel power technologies induce life-cycle greenhouse gas emissions that stem from the energy requirements for their construction and operation. Known as a “carbon debt”, this debt of energy must be paid off to calculate how solar projects reduce emissions over their lifetime. A typical utility-scale solar project repays its carbon footprint in roughly 12 months or less,14 allowing them to provide decades of zero emission energy.
Yes. Solar panel materials are enclosed with glass and do not mix with water or vaporize into the air, so there is little to no risk of chemicals, including greenhouse gases, being released into the environment during normal use. Crystalline silicon PV panels, an extremely common type of solar panel used around the world, “do not pose a material risk of toxicity to public health and safety.”15 ConnectGen is committed to installing these types of panels to ensure safety within the community.
Electric and Magnetic Fields (EMF) are present everywhere in our environment, including TV antennas, radio signals, Wi-Fi, cell phones, and common household appliances.16 EMF emissions from solar panel systems are non-ionizing and in the same extremely low frequency range as those induced by household appliances.17
All solar facilities are designed to strict electrical safety standards to ensure safe operation. Product safety standards, installation requirements, and building codes for solar facilities are addressed by the National Fire Protection Agency’s National Electrical Code, the International Code Council’s International Fire Code, the International Association of Firefighters, and several other national, state and local safety and product standards groups.18
The construction of the South Ripley Solar Project will not require toxic chemicals or processes. PV panels typically consist of glass, aluminum, copper, silver, and semiconductor materials than can be successfully recovered and reused. Solar panel materials are enclosed with glass and do not mix with water or vaporize into the air, so there is little to no risk of chemicals, including greenhouse gases, being released into the environment during normal use. Crystalline silicon PV panels, which represent approximately 90% of the solar panels in use today, “do not pose a material risk of toxicity to public health and safety.”19 ConnectGen is committed to installing these types of panels to ensure safety within the community.
In addition, to provide decades of corrosion-free operation, panels – like the ones that will be used for the South Ripley Solar Project – are encapsulated from air and moisture between two layers of plastic. The encapsulation layers are further protected with a layer of tempered glass on the front and a polymer sheet on the back. For decades, this same material has been used between layers of tempered glass to give car windshields and hurricane windows their great strength, allowing them to stay intact even if damage occurs.
Solar projects are designed with lightning protection on all system components, which protect against damage in the event of a lightning strike. The ground grid will be designed in consideration of the conductivity of soils in the area as well as any other nearby conductive materials that are buried or connected to the ground, such as water or natural gas pipes.
Prior to operation, we will develop an Emergency Response Plan in accordance with industry best practices, which will outline the response procedures to be employed should an emergency arise at the project site. We will work closely and collaboratively with the local departments and authorities. We provide pre-construction training to all emergency response personnel, which includes a description of the facility, any potential construction risks, and the role of emergency responders should an incident occur. After construction is complete, we will host the emergency response personnel for a site visit to make sure they are familiar with the system and our Emergency Response Plan.
Temporary, elevated noise levels may occur during the construction phase of a solar project, but once construction is complete, an operating solar project emits minimal noise during the day and is dormant at night. As part of the Article 10 application process, ConnectGen will submit a detailed study of the potential noise impacts associated with the construction and operation of the facility. The results of the study will assess expected noise levels, and also propose noise limits, which will minimize and mitigate adverse impacts associated with construction and operation of the South Ripley Solar Project. In addition, ConnectGen is committed to taking steps to minimize and mitigate visual impacts of the project through vegetative buffers and setbacks from property lines, which will provide additional sound dampening benefits as well.
Property value studies conducted across the country have shown that proximity to large-scale solar projects does not measurably impact property values or deter the sale of agricultural or residential land. For example:
- A study conducted across Illinois determined that the value of properties within one mile increased by an average of two percent after the installation of a solar project.20
- A study of five counties in Indiana indicated that upon completion of a solar project, properties within two miles were an average of two percent more valuable compared to their value prior to installation.21
- An appraisal spanning from North Carolina to Tennessee shows that properties adjoining solar projects match the value of similar properties that do not adjoin solar projects within one percent.22
Mounted solar projects are typically no more than 12 feet high, emit minimal noise, and are designed in accordance with strict electrical safety standards to ensure safe operation. In addition, we can take steps to minimize and mitigate the visual impacts of the project through vegetative buffers and setbacks from property lines.
Solar leases offer a viable, long-term revenue stream to landowners. Lease payments are stable and predictable, can protect against fluctuating commodity prices, and allow landowners to diversify their income, which can help maintain and preserve their properties.
Solar projects are low impact and coexist well with agriculture, operating without any impact to adjacent agricultural properties. During the solar project’s 30 year or more lifespan, the land hosting the project gets a recovery period, allowing the soil to restore fertility and rebuild. Native vegetation can grow under the panels, allowing the land to retain water and topsoil and improving soil health over time, which can increase the productivity and value of the land for agriculture in the future.23
Further, ConnectGen will have a Stormwater Pollution Prevention Plan (SWPPP), which will outline ConnectGen’s plans for sediment and erosion controls to manage both the amount and composition of any stormwater discharged from the project site. There are no anticipated stormwater runoff issues for land hosting or adjacent to panel areas.
At the end of the solar project’s useful life, the project is decommissioned and the land can be returned to agricultural use.24 In addition, a solar project can offer a consistent, weather-resistant source of income for rural farmers and their local economies, providing an alternative “crop” that diversifies farmers’ revenues.
If sited and developed properly, the South Ripley Solar Project will have minimal impacts on local wildlife. In fact, studies show that solar facilities can provide shelter for species, promote land stability, preserve habitat, and support biodiversity.25
As part of the New York State siting process, the South Ripley Solar Project is consulting with state and federal agencies and stakeholders, including the NYS Department of Public Service, NYS Department of Environmental Consideration, NYS Department of Agriculture and Markets, and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to ensure that potential environmental impacts are fully considered. Studies to help assess potential impacts include a noise impact assessment, seasonal avian studies, sensitive wildlife surveys, wetland and habitat delineations, and a wide range of other studies and surveys. The information gathered from this comprehensive coordination and review is used to inform final siting and design as well as various resource management plans and environmental protection measures to avoid, minimize or mitigate impacts to wildlife.
Once constructed, the South Ripley Solar Project will produce no pollution or emissions. Further, native vegetation can grow under the panels, and the project can provide sanctuaries for flora and fauna to thrive.26 Vegetation management concepts, such as integrated vegetation management and pollinator friendly practices, provide opportunities to promote beneficial plants species and enhance habitats on the site.
Fencing, a security measure put in place in accordance with industry best practices, will be limited to areas around panels. Collection easements between panel areas will not be fenced to allow larger wildlife to traverse through the Project Area without disruption.
Yes. During construction, ConnectGen will coordinate with participating landowners to ensure that hunting activities are conducted in a safe manner while construction workers are on-site. Once operational, hunting will no longer be allowed within panel areas, but landowners will be able to hunt on parcels around the project area without restriction. Limited fencing, a security measure put in place in accordance with industry best practices and local requirements, will be erected around panel areas. Collection easements between panel areas will not be fenced to allow wildlife to traverse these corridors without disruption.
ConnectGen has already paid local host landowners over $600,000 for site control agreements and expects to pay more than $1 million dollars per year directly to Ripley landowners through lease, easement, and neighbor agreements, resulting in more than $30 million in payments to local landowners over the course of project life. These landowners, in turn, will use this money to reinvest in new farm equipment or home improvements, which will generate additional income for the County in assessed property taxes and sales tax. Additionally, ConnectGen is contractually obligated through its REC contract with NYSERDA to provide over $35 million of in-state economic benefits to New York within the first 3 years of project operation alone. These benefits include: in-state construction labor, landowner payments, PILOT and HCA payments, local equipment and materials purchases, local sponsorships and donations, and full-time operations jobs.
Further, the South Ripley Solar Project represents an approximately $350 million capital investment, which will bring significant revenue, jobs, and economic development into the Town of Ripley and Chautauqua County. The Project will also result in significant revenue to the Town of Ripley, Sherman and Ripley School Districts, and Chautauqua County without burdening existing resources. It is estimated that through the PILOT and Host Community Agreements, the project will provide additional tax revenues, expected to average over $380,000 per year during project operation, resulting in more than $11.5 million in payments to the Town of Ripley over the life of the project. This increased revenue to the Town of Ripley would comprise approximately 40% of the Town’s annual property tax levy. Through the PILOT agreement and CCIDA agency fee, the project is expected to provide over $4.7 million to Chautauqua County and the CCIDA, making it one of the top five taxpayers in the county.
In addition, the project will result in additional tax revenues expected to average over $140,000 per year for the Sherman School District ($4.3 million over the life of the project) and over $15,000 per year for the Ripley School District ($475,000 over the life of the project). The project is also expected to provide annual tax revenue and direct benefits averaging over $50,000 per year to the Ripley Fire Protection District, resulting in over $1.6 million in payments to the local fire department over the project’s life.
ConnectGen will develop and implement a Vegetation Management Plan that establishes vegetation goals and identifies the specific treatments that may be used to ensure safe and reliable operation of the facility. Common practices to control and manage vegetation will involve mechanized and agrarian means; however, herbicides may be employed, depending on the target plant species, land use activities and landowner input. ConnectGen is committed to the conscientious use of appropriate management techniques to control vegetation in a way that is designed to minimize the risk of unreasonable adverse effects on human health and the environment.
PV panels are designed to last more than 25 years, and many manufacturers offer performance guarantees backed by warranties.27 ConnectGen anticipates that the panels used for the South Ripley Solar Project will have a useful life of at least 30 years. Like many other durable products and construction materials, solar equipment can last for decades with proper maintenance, of which they require very little due to the presence of very few, if any, moving parts.28 Proper operations and maintenance can increase efficiency, extend a project’s lifetime, and ensure safety.29 Prior to construction, the South Ripley Solar Project will develop and implement an Operations and Maintenance Plan based on industry best practices and site-specific environmental conditions.
No. There are many operating solar projects, both in the US and worldwide, which are larger than the South Ripley Solar Project. As of 2019, the five largest solar projects in the US alone were all more than twice the size of the South Ripley Solar Project.30 In the NYISO interconnection queue alone, there are eight projects that exceed 270 MW in size, including a 500 MW project under development in Genessee County.31 Further, in the PJM interconnection queue, there are 48 projects that exceed 270 MW in size, including nine at or above 500 MW.32
Battery storage systems are beginning to be deployed more widely across the US, and grid-scale battery storage is projected to have a thirteen-fold increase over the next six years.33 As the battery storage deployment trend grows, so does the size of the batteries. As of 2019, the world’s eight largest battery storage projects were all 100 MW or more, with the largest being 409 MW.34 In comparison, the South Ripley Solar Project’s 20 MW battery storage element is quite small and is expected to have a footprint of approximately 1-2 acres. In September 2019, NYSERDA announced the completion of a 20 MW battery storage project,35 and several other 20 MW+ projects are under development in other areas of New York State, including a 316 MW project located in Queens, an extremely densely populated area. Further, in the NYISO interconnection queue, there are 67 battery storage projects that exceed 20 MW in size, including several 500 MW or larger.36
During its approximately year-long construction, the project is expected to create up to 220 family-wage jobs, many of which will be sourced from the local labor pool. ConnectGen has executed an MOU with Laborers Local 631 and is in the process of negotiating one with IBEW Local 106. These agreements designate local members as the first option to support the construction of the project.
ConnectGen’s lease agreement states that the company is responsible for the decommissioning and removal of project infrastructure at the end of the project’s life.
Additionally, New York State will require a Decommissioning and Restoration Plan be put in place as part of the state Article 10 permitting process. The Decommissioning and Restoration Plan will outline the various ways in which ConnectGen will safely and responsibly remove installed solar equipment and how the property within the project area will be restored to as close to its state prior to construction as possible. ConnectGen will put financial security in place early in the life of the project to ensure that host communities and landowners will bear no responsibility for decommissioning or restoration.
Solar PV panels typically consist of glass, polymer, aluminum, copper, and semiconductor materials,37 which can be safely disposed of in landfills at the end of the project life. In addition, recycling technologies have emerged in the last several years that have enabled these materials to be recovered and recycled at the end of their useful life.38 PV solar panel recycling technologies have been put in place over the last decade that have been shown to recover over 95% of semiconductor materials and over 90% of the glass in the panel.39 In other cases, solar PV components can be reused or refurbished to have a “second life” of generating electricity.40 The industry continues to work with recycling partners and to research and explore additional cost-effective recycling technologies.41
ConnectGen expects to start construction on the South Ripley Solar Project in 2022, with a goal to complete construction and begin delivering energy in 2023. Landowners and members of the community will be kept apprised of the project’s milestones and progress throughout the development and construction phases of the project.
22 McGarr, Patricia. Property Value Impact Study. Cohn Reznick LLP Valuation Advisory Services, 2 May 2018