Canton board approves moratorium on solar farms, hiatus does not affect residential solar equipment
Wednesday, July 11, 2018 - 10:57 pm

By ADAM ATKINSON

CANTON — The town board has approved a 6-month moratorium on large scale commercial solar energy projects in Canton.

The moratorium will not stymie or delay further development of the Tesla Energy solar farm project the Village of Canton is working on at the old Ideal Drive-In site. That project will allow the village, which owns the lot, to buy cheap fixed rate power from the company and receive credit from National Grid for extra power produced there.

The moratorium approved by the town board at their meeting Wednesday, July 11, following a public hearing on the matter, puts off any construction of commercial-scale solar energy farms in town limits. The 6-month hiatus will allow the town to develop a policy regarding solar farm development. There currently is no such policy on the books.

“The idea is to protect the residents of the town, and be prepared,” said Supervisor Mary Ann Ashley. Ashley said the town had reviewed its policy on small scale wind power development a few years ago, and suggested that Canton maybe should of looked at establishing a policy regarding all alternative power generation projects at that time.

Ashley said the town attorney will work with a subcommittee of board members and members of the town sustainability committee to develop a policy.

“Once a draft is developed it will go back to the board with public input,” Ashley said.

The local law establishing the moratorium will be filed by the town clerk with the state, before it is official.

The law specifically defines the type of solar project in question as construction or installation of any photovoltaic solar panel, electrical energy storage devices, material hardware, inverters, conduit or other electrical equipment associated with the production or transmission of electrical energy.

The new law does not prevent solar panels and solar energy equipment located at a private residence, on a roof or wishing a legally permitted building or structure “for the purpose of producing electricity primarily for on-site consumption.”

The new law also does not prevent National Grid from conducting its regular business of providing electrical service and maintaining its equipment.