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Wheatfield sets hearing on solar power moratorium

WHEATFIELD - A moratorium on allowing new ground-based solar power installations in the Town of Wheatfield is about to expire, and the Town Board has called a public hearing on extending it for 7:15 p.m. Oct. 17 in Town Hall, right before that night’s board meeting.

“We need a little more time to finalize the law,” said Supervisor Robert B. Cliffe. A six-month moratorium was passed May 16; the length of the extension has not yet been determined.

The planned law on ground-based solar will regulate the size and location of solar panels on the ground, but it will apply only to commercial solar projects whose owners intend to sell electricity into the power grid, Cliffe said. The law will not restrict solar panels on roofs.

Cliffe said the town has been receiving calls from businesses and some farmers asking for guidance on when they may be able to go ahead with solar plans. At the moment, there is believed to be only one ground-based solar setup in Wheatfield, which is in a residential backyard on Ward Road. Cliffe said whatever regulations eventually are imposed won’t apply to that location, since the installation predates the law.

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