Grand Island –
Construction is underway on a mid-sized solar array in Western New York. The 42 acre site located on Grand Island will provide clean electricity to nearly 1000 area homes. While some area homeowners are hesitant to back the project, Montante Solar is doing everything it can to ensure that this project will have a limited impact on the pastoral beauty of the area. By planting flowering shrubs both around and between the rows of solar panels, the company is doing its best to be a good neighbor.
Flowering shrubs and bushes will attract pollinators, which studies have shown increase crop yields in the area. Adding high paying construction jobs and clean energy to the community is another benefit of the project. Many areas throughout the Great Lakes region have built much larger solar plants, and with this taking up approximately 0.19% of the land area of the island, the impact should be minimal.
Construction should be finished by the end of the summer, and will provide the area with clean, renewable, and carbon free energy for years to come. “We’re doing everything at Town Hall to make sure we dot the I’s and cross the T’s on this,” said Deputy Supervisor James Sharpe to The Buffalo News, “because we know, once they’re in, they’re in for 50 years.”
Solar panels are becoming more and more cost effective as these mid-to-large size projects are coming on line. Recently the cost per kilowatt hour of solar energy has fallen below that of other dirtier fuels such as coal. Add in the jobs created by these projects and the health benefits of not releasing toxic gasses into the atmosphere via coal-fired plants and the benefits to a community are clear. By 2025, a mere six years from now, nearly every coal power plant in the Great Lakes Region will be more expensive to operate than equivalent solar and wind projects.