Lightstar Renewables, the developer behind the solar farm project for Plains Road, returned to the Town of Montgomery’s planning board during its January 29 meeting and proposed a new solar project for Hoeffner Farms on 405 Goodwill Road.
Jackie Basile, development director at Lightstar, presented plans for a dual-use, 4.3-megawatt AC solar farm that would take up 22.4 acres on a 117-acre parcel leased by Hoeffner Farms. The project will also feature a 100-foot buffer to prevent any interference the surrounding DEC wetlands.
Basile emphasized that this project would function similarly to the Plains Road solar farm and incorporate feedback that the planning board previously gave to her team.
“This is an agrivoltaics project similar to the Plains Road project,” she said. “A lot of the design considerations that you had for the Plains Road project we took and basically tried to make this project as similar as possible, so it’s easier for everybody in the review process.”
Ian Ward, CEO and founder of Solar Agricultural Services, informed the board about agrivoltaics, the combination of energy production and agriculture within a single area. The solar farm would generate electricity for Central Hudson’s Gas and Electric grid and Hoeffner Farms would continue growing crops and raising livestock as normal.
“We’re going to talk about agrivoltaics, simply growing crops underneath solar panels. Hoeffner Farms is an example of that, they’ve been in vegetable production for over 100 years,” Ward said. “The hay would continue to be produced for livestock that is currently being raised and for sale.”
As of January 29’s meeting, the developers already conducted studies for wetland delineation, wildlife habitats, visual impact, noise impact, and cultural resources impact. Basile noted that she and her team still need to meet with the Montgomery Fire Department to discuss plans for fire safety and emergency procedures.
Fred Reichle, chairman of the planning board, confirmed that the board received Lightstar’s submission and assured that its members will begin reviewing the project.