Former Rexford apple orchard would host array. One that will generate 6.9 megawatts

By Kassie Parisi of the Daily Gazette

First of all, a proposal for a 6.9 megawatt solar farm in the town’s west end. It was formally presented to the Planning Board at its most recent session.

So the project by Borrego Solar has 18,495 panels to be built. Located on a 21.5-acre parcel at 267 Sugar Hill Road. All in the Clifton Park’s Rexford section. Built on land consequently that was previously an apple orchard. Plans call for the array to be surrounded by a seven-foot fence.

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In addition and according to proposal submitted to the town planning department by Borrego, construction of the array will take approximately six months.

Consequently, the array will be placed on land that was previously an apple orchard. Therefore a number of trees will remain around the array. So Clifton Park Planning Director John Scavo said that Borrego will return to a future meeting with renderings.

Therefore to better show integration of the array with surrounding trees. The planning board has 60 days to act on the proposal.

Next Steps

However as Community News reported, the project was unanimously approved along with a special use permit by the Planning Board after holding a public hearing April 23.

Representatives for Borrego Solar Systems told the board they plan to cut 2,860 apple trees. All from the former Idyllwood Orchard. Initially, it was thought that the trees might be removed intact. Then they would be sold rather than cut down.

Once they are removed, the company plans to install 18,500 solar panels mounted on steel frames. All on 21.5 acres of the 33-acre site. As a result, through a lease with owner Jeanne Lindsey. The 6.9-megawatt project is expected to generate enough electricity to power 500 homes. A seven-foot hurricane fence will surround the solar panels.

The Lindsey family ran the orchard for more than 40 years. All before closing it at the end of apple picking season last fall. So Jeanne Lindsey’s son, Duane Lindsey, represented the family at the public hearing.

This is the second solar farm for the Lindsey family. In January, the board approved a 9.2-megawatt solar farm on 33 acres at the center of a large parcel. One that Duane Lindsey owns at 753 Grooms Road.

Solar Design

Plans for the Sugar Hill Road site call for leaving a number of apple trees near the road in place as visual buffering. The first rows of the solar array would be built approximately 500 feet from the road.

On the north and south sides, where there are wide expanses of open land and the apple trees do not form adequate visual buffers, Borrego plans on using fast-growing arborvitae. All planted eight feet apart as buffers. Computerized visual simulations of the arborvitae’s growth were shown to the board. Moreover to it several neighbors who attended the meeting.

Follow Up

In conclusion, several residents attending the meeting who live the orchard spoke at the hearing. One family who also lives across Sugar Hill Road from the orchard questioned Borrego. Especially on whether chemicals from the panels might be deposited in the ground. As well as they also asked about the panels’ lifespan.

Finally and for the entire story on The Daily Gazette and the Community News.