New York State has plans to increase renewable energy generation by the year 2030.

  • Cambria residents speaking out about solar panel project
  • It would increase the state's renewable energy generation by 2030
  • Not everyone is on board

The Bear Ridge Solar Panel project in Western New York aims to help the state meet that goal.

“It’s 900 acres of farm land being taken,” said Town of Cambria resident, Ed Saleh, who feels the initiative is being forced upon them. “This is not something we have a say in. New York State has a say in what we’re gonna do."

Cypress Creek Renewables, the firm behind the project, says they are in the early stages of the application process.

“Our goal is to build a 100-megawatt solar facility and that size project can power 25,000 homes. We’re excited to bring that much renewal electricity to New York State,” said Kevin Kohlstedt, project manager.

But some residents aren’t sold. There are concerns the land will be rezoned from from agricultural to industrial.

“We’re hoping to work with the town board to solve the zoning issue,” said Kohlstedt.

The project will have to be approved by a New York State citing board  — all appointed by Gov. Cuomo.

Town Supervisor Ellis Wright says the issue is with the Article X law signed by governor that would allow the project to move forward whether the town agrees or not.

“Now we’re fighting that — we just have to see how that turns out,” said Ellis.

This is the the fifth meeting regarding the project, and Ellis says there are too many questions that still need answers. Also, the initiative does not fit with the Town of Cambria’s agricultural zoning.

“They refuse to discuss the zoning issue, which is very important to the town. Possible reduction of property values when you have a solar panel across from you,” added Ellis.

Last week, Cambria passed a resolution opposing the project and loss of agricultural land.

Cypress Creek plans another meeting in Pendleton Wednesday.