Hunter officials draft new solar law
Sarah Trafton is reporting for Columbia-Greene Media officials in the town of Hunter have decided that with solar farms springing up across the county, now is the time to draft a solar law. Residents will have the opportunity to comment on the proposed law during a virtual public hearing May 11. “There was nothing really on the books,” Hunter Town Board member Sean Mahoney said. “We wanted to hit a few birds with one stone. We are attempting to become a certified Clean Energy Community. As a Clean Energy Community, we have to undertake four high-impact actions. Adopting a solar law and a unified solar permit are two of those actions. We also wanted to make sure this was right for our community.” Passage of a new local law will allow the solar moratorium that was enacted in late 2018 to be lifted. There is also the possibility the town may pursue the idea of installing a solar array at the former landfill. The draft legislation places an emphasis on utilizing already disturbed locations for solar projects. The law allows for rooftop and ground-mounted solar energy systems of 25 kilowatts or less; and community solar systems of two megawatts or less that benefit Hunter residents. Small-scale solar projects will require a Unified Solar Permit; small-scale ground-mounted solar projects must be 20 feet from property lines, not visible from the street and located on a parcel at least one acre in size. The solar panels cannot be more than 15 feet above ground level. Large-scale projects must be situated on at least 10 acres of land, at least 300 feet from all property lines and 150 feet from the road. The solar array can take up no more than 50 percent of the property, according to the draft law. Violations of the solar law will be punishable by a fine of up to $250 or imprisonment for up to six months, or both. Read the full story at HudsonValley360 [dot] com.