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Major Ripley solar project moving ahead

A Ripley solar project is moving forward.

RIPLEY — ConnectGen has submitted a PILOT application to the County of Chautauqua Industrial Development Agency (CCIDA) for their South Ripley Solar Project, a 270 megawatt (MW) large scale-solar project located in South Ripley, wholly within the town boundaries. The project will include a 20 MW of battery energy storage component.

ConnectGen has worked since late 2018 to introduce the Project to the Ripley community, perform environmental analyses, and advance through the early stages of the New York state permitting process, and plans to commence construction of the Project by the second or third quarter of 2022 with commercial operations starting by the end of 2023. The project is expected to contribute over $18 million in increased revenue to local taxing jurisdictions, including the town of Ripley, Chautauqua County, the Sherman Central School District, and the Ripley Central School District through its 30-year life. In addition to payments to local taxing jurisdictions, local landowners are expected to receive up to $40 million in long-term revenue in the form of solar leases, easement agreements, and good neighbor agreements.

ConnectGen estimates that construction of the Project will create up to 600 construction jobs at the peak of the construction period, and 220 annualized full-time equivalent (FTE) construction jobs. Once completed, they anticipate two to four FTE jobs for ongoing monitoring and maintenance. According to ConnectGen, this Project will contribute a meaningful amount of renewable energy to assist the State of New York in achieving its identified clean energy supply goal of 70% of electricity generated by 2030, supplying enough electricity to power approximately 60,000 average homes in New York annually.

ConnectGen is undergoing the comprehensive New York State permitting process to ensure that any potential environmental impacts from the Project are fully reviewed and evaluated. The requirements under the state process typically include developing measures to address visual impacts, wildlife, natural resources, land restoration, decommissioning, and a host of other environmental considerations. The Project is not expected to impact local farmlands currently producing dairy or cultivating vineyards.

“This is a project that ConnectGen and the community have been working on for a couple of years,” said Mark Geise, Deputy County Executive for Economic Development/Chief Executive Officer of the County of Chautauqua Industrial Development Agency. “I’m glad that the CCIDA can assist them in hopefully making it a reality.”

ConnectGen was founded in 2018, in partnership with Quantum Energy Partners and 547 Energy, as an independent renewable energy company focused on the development of high quality wind, solar, and energy storage projects across North America. Based in Houston, Texas, ConnectGen’s experienced development team has successfully developed, built, and operated thousands of megawatts of renewable energy projects across the country.

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