New solar parks take shape on Grand Island


BUFFALO, NY (WIVB) Those who drive on Grand Island may have noticed new solar panels sprouting up along side the 190 Thruway.

“It’s really great that our community is looking at non-fossil fuel efforts,” said Deputy Town Supervisor Jim Sharpe who showed News 4 the solar panel project by Active Solar Development taking shape near the Bedell Road overpass of the Thruway. “We’re utilizing property that has the minimum impact on our infrastructure, also maintaining the ability for green to still be here, grass being here, trees being grown.”

Rod Reisdorf owns ‘Mr. Best Wrench’, the repair shop next to it on Bedell Road. “I think it’s good that their harnessing the power of the sun to produce electricity. I hope it’s profitable for them.”

Even though this project isn’t even completed yet, most of the energy it will produce is already sold to National Grid customers who have opted on-line for solar energy to receive a discount.

“They’re actually allowed to buy the energy from this park and get the same benefit if you had one one your home,” said Sharpe. “Every park has a different arrangement, but basically you can get a 10% discount on your bills.”

Sharpe says two new solar parks will generate enough electricity for almost four thousand homes, and the town of Grand Island will save about $200-thousand a year with a combination of tax payments and reduced electricity costs.

The other solar project currently under construction on Grand Island is under the direction of Solar Park Energy on Whitehaven Road.

John Tripi lives right in front of the property and has filed a lawsuit against the town. “I think solar is a great product, but it’s in the wrong location. It’s in a residential neighborhood,” said Tripi, noting he has always had a couple High Tension power lines behind his backyard, but not 20,000 solar panels.

Tripi also says the renderings of the project never included the 30 wooden power poles that just went up this month. Until we get that resolved, we look at an ugly 20,000 panel system with a lot of telephone poles showing.”

Deputy Supervisor Sharpe says there will be new shrubbery planted to hide the panels from the neighbors view. “So, a great deal of effort has gone into what kind of shrubberies go there, what are the species that are actually setting on the site.”

Tripi is tired of looking at the project “They’re required to hide the panels today. Not ten years when they grow. I’ll be dead in ten years. I want to see the panels hidden today with the pine trees, arbor vitae that everybody has agreed to.”

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