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Solar project in Ripley seeks CCIDA tax breaks

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A worker installs solar panels.

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Two alternative energy companies are teaming up for a proposed solar farm in the Chautauqua County town of Ripley, on the Pennsylvania border, with hopes of getting tax breaks to support their $8.69 million venture.

New Energy Equity and CleanChoice Energy Community - through Annapolis, Md.-based Martin NY CSG LLC - are proposing to construct a 5-megawatt community solar array, using just under half of a parcel of land along Route 76.

According to their application to the County of Chautauqua Industrial Development Agency, plans call for installing solar panels on a tracking steel structure, along with switchgear, inverters, transformers, electrical lines and other infrastructure. The project would use 29.5 acres of a 65-acre site owned by Lewin and Diane Martin, at 5246 Route 76.

Project costs include $3.56 million for construction, $3.83 million for site work, $1.129 million for infrastructure, $100,000 for building demolition and $70,549 for professional fees. Funds include $868,735 in company equity and $7.82 million in private loans.

The companies are asking for a special property tax break for solar projects, with an annual payment starting at $22,550 and rising 2% per year, for total savings of $529,318 over 25 years. They say the project will not proceed without it.

If approved, construction would begin in spring 2023, with completion after six months.

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