Two solar farm projects ready to shine in Broadalbin, Johnstown

Town of Johnstown board members, Don VanDeusan, left, Tim Rizzo, Walter Lane, Daryl Baldwin and town Supervisor Jack Wilson, right, durig their regular meeting Monday. (The Leader-Herald/Briana O'Hara)

JOHNSTOWN — A representative of Onyx Development Group, also of GenESolar I LLC, of Delaware, addressed the town board Monday during its regular meeting to give an update on the two-megawatt solar farm projects in the towns of Broadalbin and Johnstown.

The Fulton County Board of Supervisors earlier this month authorized the signing of Payment In Lieu of Taxes, or PILOT agreements, between GenE Solar I LLC for solar array farm projects in Fulton County.

Company representative Josh Katz said the projects have mostly been constructed and they are waiting for National Grid to finish up the electrical connections. He said the solar farms should be operational by the end of March.

Onyx purchased property near Route 29 in Broadalbin and is also leasing 12.4 acres of land owned by Bruce Whitcavitch, 143 County Highway 142A, Johnstown.

Katz said the assets of Onyx will be switched to GenESolar.

“We’re moving all the assets of the company, so the lease with the Whitcavitch family, who owns the land, the ownership of all the equipment will move all the contracts and assets to a new financing company called GenE Solar I LLC,” Katz said.

Katz said with the way solar projects work with the federal tax credit, the financing isn’t as straight forward as a bank loan.

“They buy shares with the company rather than lending to the company, but it’s basically the same thing,” he said.

The town board then made a motion for Supervisor Jack Wilson to sign the addendum.

Katz said as part of that financing, they are requesting to move the PILOT from Onyx Development group to GenESolar.

Supervisors last year authorized PILOT agreements for the two Onyx’s projects. But Onyx requested both agreements he assigned to its affiliate company, GenE Solar LLC, and last week’s action does that.

Also during the meeting, the town board briefly discussed the huge tire pile on property located on Route 67. Todd Unislawski, building inspector/code enforcer said there is about over 1,500 tires on the property and the house appears to be fully abandoned. He said a health officer recommended the town removes the tires.

“My recommendation is to move forward with the removal of them,” Unislawski said. “I am unaware of what’s been looked into though as how to remove them.”

Wilson said he talked to employees of the Fulton County Landfill and they said there would be cost involved. He said he would bring it up at a supervisors’ meeting. Board members questioned whether there would be a warrant needed to get on the property to remove the tires.

“We need to find out what all our options are,” Wilson said.

He added that they would get a resolution on the agenda for the board to vote on at March’s meeting.