2012-08-02 / Front Page

Solar Energy Project In Ayr Continues To Move Forward

Supervisors set fall bulky item day
By Jean Snyder
STAFF WRITER

Ayr Township supervisors received an update on a planned solar energy project and discussed comments from the local Conservation District regarding plans for the new state police station to be built in the business park at their regular meeting on Monday evening.

The supervisors discussed correspondence from Jim Madden, senior project manager for Element Power headquartered in Charlottesville, Va.

It was Madden’s group who, in July 2011, came to the supervisors with preliminary plans for a $60- million solar energy project near the business park in Ayr Township. During last month’s meeting, the supervisors noted that they had not heard anything further from Element Power since August 2011, At that time, Madden had said that building of the 187,000 solar panels was contingent upon the company’s ability to sell the energy to West Penn Power through its transmission station located nearby.

Now in correspondence received in mid-July, Madden updated the supervisors saying, “In December, we executed an easement agreement with Fulton Industrial Development Association (owner of the business park) for an access road from Fulton Drive. In April, we completed a one-year study of the solar resource on the site which has now given us and our bank’s confidence in the quality of the solar resource.”

Madden went on to say that as of July, Element Power has executed an interconnection agreement with First Energy/West Penn Power that will enable delivery of up to 20 megawatts of power from the project onto the power grid. Madden said that agreement was only made possible after an 18- month study required by the grid’s operator to confirm the safety and reliability of the power delivered to the grid.

According to Madden, the project, called the Cove Creek Solar Energy Project, “will be contracted and built in the near future.“ He said that while Pennsylvania’s solar energy market has been depressed due to the ongoing recession, at the same time there has been a significant drop in costs for the solar panels and other components. He said that, in the meantime, Element Power continues work to secure “offtake” agreements with various Pennsylvania utilities for the sale of the project’s power.

During other business, the supervisors reviewed the status of the new Pennsylvania State Police station scheduled to be built on Lot 11 in the business park. The supervisors noted that the Conservation District, while approving the administrative portion of the application, made 31 comments on the technical review that will need to be addressed, and the plan will need to be revised within 90 days of the date of the comment letter. The new barracks is to be located in the Fulton County Business Park on the south side of Fulton Drive directly across from Tri-State Community Health Center. Original plans for the 7,539- square-feet building were submitted by the architectural firm of Fahringer McCarty Grey Inc. of Monroeville, Pa.

Other items on Monday evening’s agenda included the announcement that bulky item day will be held on Saturday, September 22, from 7 a.m. to noon at the township building. The supervisors also reviewed a list of certificates of final inspection and certificate of use and occupancy issued by Commonwealth Code Inspection Service.

The supervisors agreed to write a letter to the Fulton County Library confirming that they had reduced their annual donation to the library from $3,000 to $2,000 in 2012. According to library Director Jamie Brambley, the library will need to write a waiver for the requirement of maintaining local government income due to the reduction.

The Ayr Township supervisors meet the last Monday evening of each month at 7 p.m. at the township building. The next regular meeting is scheduled for August 27, 2012.

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