Conquest solar project footprint expands amid resident opposition

NextEra Energy’s solar farm project application includes this map showing where panels and fencing would be located.

The proposal to build one of the largest solar farms in New York in the town of Conquest has moved into a new review phase, as the project developer has filed its official application with the state Department of Public Service.

Florida-based NextEra Energy Resources, a sister company of Florida Power & Light Co., filed the application for a 200-megawatt solar facility on June 28 with the state Board on Electric Generation Siting and the Environment, the entity within the public service department that will make the final decision on whether to allow the project to move forward. Because of the project’s size, state law strips local officials of the authority to approve or reject it.

The application is the next major step in a review process that began in January 2020, when NextEra first filed paperwork stating its intention to pursue the project.

The application includes some changes from the original project description. The overall project footprint, which includes land for the solar panels and associated equipment along with buffer areas, has grown from an estimated 1,900 acres to 2,289 acres. The company plans to lease property from existing landowners to build the solar farm. The project would also establish a 20-megawatt storage facility that would feed an existing New York Power Authority transmission line.

NextEra is scheduled to provide an update and answer questions about its project this week at the regular meeting of the Conquest Town Council. That meeting takes place at 7 p.m. Monday, at Conquest Town Hall, 1289 Fuller Road.

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