Thursday, May 3, 2012

Sourland Solar Array?

This evening the Hillsborough Township Planning Board is scheduled to begin hearing an application for a 20-acre almost 10,000-panel solar array on the side of the Sourland Mountain where there is, currently, woods.

KDC Solar, LLC, of Bedminster has filed an application for a solar array on 20-acres of the 508.415-acre Gibraltar Rock property (Block 174, Lot 155) on the east side of Longhill Road between Zion Road and Dutchtown-Zion Road on the southeast corner of the quarry adjacent to Montgomery Township.

The project consists of a 9,996-panel, 2.3-megawatt solar array in four sections. Fourteen-acres will contain site improvements (the array, maintenance road, stormwater retention system, swales, drain pipe, and overhead utilities), while the remaining 6-acres will be cleared around the array to mitigate shading on the panels.

As for the woods, which would be clear-cut, the applicant states that using sample areas and averaging, there are 2,298 trees greater than 6-inches in caliper in the area. The applicant has requested an Economic Hardship Waiver for the tree mitigation cost.

It appears that the use of the Economic Hardship Waiver would downsize the applicant's tree mitigation cost from appoximately $1.2 million to about $108,000.

The array's life-span is 20-years with a 5-year optional extension, with the infrastructure removed at the end of the lifespan of the solar array.

The Hillsborough Township Environmental Commission reviewed the application on February 27, 2012.

This evening's Planning Board meeting starts at 7:30 p.m. at the Hillsborough Township Municipal Building, 379 South Branch Road.
Most Hillsborough residents remember the Gibraltar Quarry under the previous owner's name - 3M. Look toward the southern end of the Sourland Mountain, the quarry is the light-colored gash in the middle of the woods.
From this evening's HTPB agenda:
Gibraltar Quarry / KDC Solar – File #12-PB-01-SR – 484 County Route 601, Belle Mead, NJ 08502 (Blawenburg-Belle Mead Road). Applicant seeking Major Site Plan application proposing the construction of a 9,996 panel, 2.3 megawatt solar array on approximately 20 acres located within the Gibraltar Quarry property. Of that, 14 acres will be used for site improvements including the solar array, maintenance road, stormwater retention system, swales, drain
pipe and overhead utilities. The remaining 6 acres will be cleared around the solar array installation to mitigate shading on the panels. An Economic Hardship Waiver has been requested along with such other variances, waivers,
and approvals as needed, for property in the Q District and partly in the MZ District. (EC: 02-27-12)

"Today is your day! Your mountain is waiting. So... get on your way.” - Dr. Seuss

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