Hemlock Ridge Solar
New York’s Clean Energy Future
Community Energy is proposing a 200 megawatt (MW) solar energy project in Orleans County. This project will deliver a significant amount of clean, affordable energy to the electric grid and significant environmental and socioeconomic benefits to the landowners and community, without additional burden on municipal services and expenses that are typical of most forms of development. The project, by nature and by design, causes minimal disturbance to the land and community. As a whole we believe this project provides a significant net benefit to the host landowners, local community, and region.
About the Project
Hemlock Ridge Solar is a proposed 200 MW-AC solar project located in the Towns of Barre and Shelby in Orleans County, NY. Consistent with the NY Public Service Commission’s proceeding implementing a Clean Energy Standard, which supports the development of clean energy and renewable resources in New York State, the project will safely generate enough clean, renewable electricity to power over 36,000 households and offset 282,000 tons of CO2 emissions each year.
Solar equipment is a proven and safe technology in applications from fields to rooftops of homes, schools, and businesses. The project will provide a significant economic stimulus to the area during construction by providing jobs and local contracts for goods and services, and significant long-term economic benefits through lease revenue to local landowners and tax revenue to the community.
Responsibly sited solar facilities can provide a net benefit to the preservation of agricultural land. The facility is not a permanent structure and funding is provided to decommission the project at the end of its useful life. The project essentially provides a form of preservation for agricultural land by maintaining permeable land surface and improving soil quality over the project life. After decommissioning, the project leaves no trace so land can be returned to agricultural use. Setbacks, fencing, and landscape buffering enable solar projects to blend comfortably into the community.
Community Energy has developed over 2,000 MW of wind and solar facilities over 21 years. We value our relationships with local stakeholders, and we work closely with local communities to ensure our projects will be good neighbors for many years.
Expected Local Economic Benefits
Solar farms provide numerous economic and social benefits. They provide significant tax revenues to the local town, county, and school district with no additional burden on municipal services. The land hosting the solar project will no longer be taxed at the lower rate provided for agricultural land and will generate many times more in taxes compared to current land use. In addition, there will roll-back taxes associated with the change in land use status.
Development and construction provide for increased economic activity in the region such as the following:
- Construction Jobs for local workers: Approximately 170+ full-time equivalent of jobs during the development and construction phase of about six months
- Construction Contracts for local businesses: Electrical, Landscape, Site Work, etc.
- Local Economic Stimulus during construction: Hotels, Restaurants, Shops, Entertainment, etc.
- Local Stimulus after construction: The local community benefits from increased tax revenue on the value of the installed equipment. This increased tax benefit comes without increased pressure on community services such as roads, schools, libraries, and first responders.
- Full-Time Operations and Maintenance Jobs: 4 full-time equivalent O&M jobs
Rural communities’ benefit from public road enhancements, increased tax revenues to fund local infrastructure and public services, schools and other community infrastructure. The construction and operations and maintenance create direct and indirect benefits of additional jobs and increased demand for local goods and services within the community.
As the proposed Hemlock Ridge Solar project advances, public documents will be posted to this site.
Local Document Repositories:
Town of Barre Town Hall Town of Shelby Town Hall
14317 W Barre Road 4062 Salt Works Road
Albion, New York 14411 Medina, New York 14103
Outreach Event Schedule
All public meetings will be announced at least 14 days prior to the scheduled event and posted on the facility website.
May 19, 2021 Virtual Open House Link to Recording
October 13, 2020 Shelby Town Hall Meeting
March 11, 2020 Barre Town Hall Meeting
About Community Energy
Hemlock Ridge Solar is a wholly owned subsidiary of Community Energy. Headquartered in Radnor, Pennsylvania, with offices in Colorado and North Carolina. Community Energy is a leading US developer of renewable energy projects, including solar and wind generating facilities. Community Energy was founded in 1999 and has since developed 2000 MW of utility-scale wind and solar across the country.
With Hemlock Ridge Solar, Community Energy would build on its track record of launching utility-scale solar in states across the country including:
- 120 MW-AC Comanche Solar in Colorado
- 103 MW-AC Butler Solar Facility in Georgia
- 100 MW-AC North Star Solar in Minnesota
- 100 MW-AC Amazon Solar Farm in Virginia
- 80 MW-AC Amazon Solar Farm Eastern Shore in Virginia
Contact for More Information or to Request Stakeholder Status
Toll Free Number: 866-946-3123
State Permitting Process
New York State is working to achieve the most ambitious renewable energy and green house gas (GHG) emission targets in the nation through the Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act (CLCPA) passed in 2019. In April of 2020 New York enacted the Accelerated Renewable Energy Growth and Community Benefit Act to further improve the state renewable energy permitting process.
As part of the process, the Office of Renewable Energy Siting (ORES) was established to streamline the permitting process and coordinate across state stakeholder agencies such as NYSERDA, DEC, DPS, and Ag & Markets. The new state permitting process lead by ORES is known as 94-C.
The 94-C state permitting process requires careful consideration of compliance with local laws and ordinances; analysis of potential environmental, socioeconomic, and public health impacts; and studies regarding environmental justice and public safety. 94-C also establishes key mechanisms to encourage local outreach and support public involvement in the Siting Board proceedings.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Will the project be safe?
We will provide security fencing that will fully encompass the solar fields. Any wires outside of our security fence will be buried. As such, no part of our solar project will be accessible to the public. Within the fence line, all solar equipment will be grounded and touch safe, fully compliant with all applicable codes and accessible only to qualified personnel, with the exception of guided tours.
Orientation will be offered to local first responders to educate them about the project, the equipment and access, and response procedures in case of unexpected events.
Contact information for our monitoring and response center will be provided and posted on the project fence to ensure the public can easily reach project representatives.
What will happen to the equipment at the end of the project?
Decommissioning of the project and restoration of the land is our responsibility. Our land leases require decommissioning and restoration, and the economics of such are factored into our project financial planning. We will also provide a decommissioning plan to the Towns of Barre and Shelby and Orleans County. We would expect to implement a decommissioning plan similar to plans implemented at other CE projects of similar scale. The decommissioning plan includes a financial surety based on cost estimates for equipment removal, hauling, disposal, and land restoration, taking into account salvage and resale value.
What are the environmental benefits?
The project will use no fuel and create zero emissions, reducing air pollution and offsetting hundreds of thousands of tons of carbon dioxide emissions every year. Energy generation and environmental equivalents from the project are estimated to include…
- Equivalent of powering over 36,000 average NY homes per year
- Equivalent of offsetting ~282,000 tons of CO2 per year
- Equivalent of carbon captured by ~370,000 acres of U.S. forests
- Equivalent of offsetting ~311 million pounds of coal burned per year
- Equivalent of offsetting consumption of ~655,000 barrels of oil
How can I monitor and/or participate in New York State Department of Public Service proceedings about this project?
There are several options available for those who wish to monitor or participate in the proceedings. You may learn more here: New York State Department of Public Service Matter Management.
What is the Local Agency Account and how does it work?
The siting process under 94-c requires that applicants submit with their application $1,000 dollars for each MW of capacity, to be deposited into a local agency account to be made available to local agencies and potential community intervenors for the purpose of contributing to a complete record leading to an informed permit decision as to the appropriateness of the site and the facility, and for local agencies, shall include the use of funds to determine whether a proposed facility is designed to be sited, constructed and operated in compliance with applicable local laws and regulations. This includes the cost to defray expenses for experts. The application is anticipated Q1 2021. Seventy-five percent of local agency account funds shall be reserved for local agencies.
Any local agency or potential community intervenor shall submit a request for initial funding within thirty (30) days of the date of application filing and that such request be made to:
Attention: Request for Local Agency Account Funding
Office of Renewable Energy Siting
One Commerce Plaza
99 Washington Ave
Albany, NY 12231-0001
Intervenor requests should be made to the Office of Renewable Energy Siting, Attention: Request for Local Agency Account Funding, 99 Washington Avenue Albany, New York 12231-0001.