Large Solar Farm Planned In South County

A 90-megawatt solar farm, among the largest sought in Chautauqua County, is being proposed on about 600 acres of land across the towns of Busti and Kiantone.

The project was announced last week by Gov. Kathy Hochul and represents the latest in a series of solar farms eyed locally.

Hochul announced 22 large-scale solar and energy storage projects across New York; all told, the governor touted, the facilities would generate “enough clean, affordable energy to power over 620,000 New York homes for at least 20 years.”

Four solar projects are being proposed in Western New York, with CS Energy planning to place a 90-megawatt farm on a mix of forested, agricultural and shrub land across Busti and Kiantone.

A spokesman for the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority said the solar farm would be located south of Donelson Road and west of Kiantone Road in the town of Kiantone, and south of Burton Road and east of Pine Ridge road in the town of Busti. York Run Solar LLC, an affiliate of CS Energy, has been developing the project since 2020.

Mitch Quine, director of project development for the New Jersey-headquartered CS Energy, said the contract award represents “a big step” in the process, but noted that there will be a series of public information sessions and individual meetings with landowners still to be held beginning this summer. There also is the siting and permitting process to complete.

Quine said the Busti-Kiantone solar project is one of the largest CS Energy is undertaking in the New York region. He said the company has been in contact with officials in both Busti and Kiantone.

“Feedback has been on the positive side of mixed,” he said. “Kiantone is excited for the development. Busti has raised some concerns. A key piece is that there is a zone in their town for solar. We’re in the proper zone, and we’re working closely with the town and their attorney.”

Construction on the solar farm — currently sitting evenly between both towns — is expected to begin in 2024 and be operational by the end of 2025. “Commencement of construction will be determined by the project receiving all required permits and approvals,” the NYSERDA spokesman told The Post-Journal.

CS Energy anticipates creating more than 100 construction jobs to build the facility.

“It’s important to note while, yes, this is a big step for the project, people may think the feedback part is over and done,” Quine said. “We will enter the heavy duty public involvement and public information sessions this summer and meet individually with landowners.”

Elsewhere, a 350-megawatt solar farm, under the name “Ridge View Solar Energy Center,” was announced by Hochul for Niagara County. Another solar farm, producing 100 megawatts under the name “Bear Ridge Solar: Bear Ridge Solar LLC,” also is being sought in Niagara County.

And in Allegany County, Alfred Oaks Solar is looking to build a 100-megawatt solar facility.

“Today’s investments will put us on a path to making New York a greener place to live while also creating new jobs and spurring economic development,” Hochul said. “These projects will allow us to not just meet but exceed our goal of obtaining 70 percent of our electricity from renewable resources and will further cement New York as a national leader in the fight against climate change.”

In May, the Chautauqua County Industrial Development Agency approved tax breaks for three solar projects — proposed in French Creek, Hanover and the town of Pomfret. The largest of the three, producing 4.699 megawatts, is being sought on 28 acres of land located at 10026 Farel Road in Pomfret.

County IDA officials also announced in May that tax breaks for four other projects were being reviewed.

The proposed solar farm in Busti and Kiantone would be larger than most of the projects currently in the works. It’s still much smaller than the 270-megawatt farm projected in South Ripley.

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