Solar facility proposed for Northeast Industrial Park

— From Cipriani Energy’s submittal to town of Guilderland

Cipriani Energy is proposing a 2.375-megawatt ground-mounted solar facility on 15 acres of land at 2 Van Buren Blvd. in the Northeast Industrial Park. The arrays, depicted as black bars, would run alongside the railroad tracks.

GUILDERLAND — Industrial-scale solar is being proposed for Guilderland’s major industrial park. 
Cipriani Energy is proposing a 2.375-megawatt ground-mounted solar facility on 15 acres of land at 2 Van Buren Blvd in the Northeastern Industrial Park.

The project’s site plan received a positive recommendation from the town’s planning board at its Aug. 11 meeting; the zoning board is the lead agency. 

The project will need two variances from the zoning board: Siting the array 25 feet closer to the CSX tracks — the arrays are to run alongside the track — and 45 feet closer to Stone Road than code allows.

In his Aug. 5 memo to the board, Town Planner Ken Kovalchik said he doesn’t have an issue with the 25-foot variance because the “reduction in the side yard setback” abuts  “the CSX rail line ... to the east.”

But with the 45-foot variance request, Kovalchik writes, “Efforts should be made to move the solar panels further away from Stone Road.”

During the Aug. 11 meeting, an engineer speaking on behalf of Cipriani said there had been an increase in landscape screening along Stone Road.

Addressing the project’s somewhat irregular shape, Cipriani’s Chief of Operations Officer Christopher Stroud said, “What we’re attempting to do here is utilize as much of the capped landfill area as a redevelopment project as possible. So that’s why we’ve obviously respected the 100-foot setback for the wetlands. With area variances, it’s more with regard to making maximum use of that landfill cap to redevelop that site.”

Stroud is the former chief executive officer of Monolith Solar.

The proposal is a community solar project, Stroud said; for customers who signed up, it would be worth a 10-percent reduction on their bills.

Construction would take five months, according to the narrative included with Cipriani’s submittal package. 

Maintenance of the facility would include six annual visits where trucked-in water would be used to wash down the panels.

The Albany County Planning Board voted to disapprove the project so a supermajority of the zoning board — a majority plus one — will be needed to override the disapproval. The county planning board disapproved because it hadn’t received review materials that have subsequently been submitted to the town. 

On the county’s tax maps, there are two major parcels and a handful of smaller properties that make up the Northeastern Industrial Park.

The Guilderland Town Board on Tuesday agreed to new assessed values for two of the smaller parcels, 8 and 22 Northeastern Industrial Park. 

The assessment for 8 Northeastern Industrial Park dropped from $8.4 million to $4.55 million, which was still “almost double … the original assessed value,” of $2.3 million, James Melita, the town attorney, said on Tuesday. 

Melita was speaking of the town-wide revelation that was completed in 2019.

The 2021 assessment for 22 Northeastern Industrial Park was reduced from $4.9 million to $4.5 million — 2019 and 2020 were revised but for less. Its pre-reval assessment was $2.28 million. 

The town board also agreed to a tax refund settlement of nearly $15,000.

More Guilderland News

  • GUILDERLAND — A woman was seriously injured on Wednesday morning as she walked across Winding Bro

  • Acting Albany County Supreme Court Judge Roger McDonough in an Oct. 7 decision found a number of Save the Pine Bush’s arguments and requests for relief “to be lacking in merit” and dismissed the case. 

  • The town of Guilderland is opposing a request from Crossgates that the mall’s 2020 and 2021 tax certiorari cases be consolidated into one lawsuit in part because the circumstances surrounding the valuations “were completely different.” The 2021 case would be based on a July 2020 valuation — when malls were closed for three of the year’s six months — compared to a 2020 tax hearing, which would be based on numbers from July 2019.

The Altamont Enterprise is focused on hyper-local, high-quality journalism. We produce free election guides, curate readers' opinion pieces, and engage with important local issues. Subscriptions open full access to our work and make it possible.