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Walkers Fruit Farm applies for roof-mounted solar array

Chris Prinzi with board (Photo courtesy Damian Sebouhian)
Damian Sebouhian
August 24, 2017

SHERIDAN — Walker’s Fruit Farm is one step closer to having a roof-mounted solar array installed on its main building, as Christopher Prinzi of Solar Liberty presented his plans to the Sheridan town board during a recent meeting.

The board did not take any action, as Prinzi is awaiting final approval from the Federal Aviation Association (FAA) before moving forward and then is required to undergo a public hearing scheduled for Sept. 21 at 7:15 p.m. to be held at Sheridan Town Hall.

Walker’s Farm initially applied to erect a wind turbine on its property but was turned down by the FAA, presumably for the potential of a turbine in that area causing hazardous conditions for flight traffic.

“I have reached out to the FAA,” Prinzi told the board. “They are in the process of review. I have email correspondence from the top executive within the FAA and they have said that he is waiting on one last final response out of 10 required. I will be completing my part (of the design process) as soon as I receive those.”

Sheridan Supervisor Louis Delmonte complimented Prinzi on how far he has gotten with the project.

“You’re doing very well because the FAA is very difficult to get a response from,” Delmonte said. “If you got that you’re doing very well.”

“We’ve given them the coordinates of the (Walker’s Farm) buildings and they’re requiring us one singular light at the top of the peak of the roof at (an elevation of) 35 feet,” Prinzi explained. “That’s all they’re going to be requiring of us. They don’t see any hazard to it.”

The light won’t be attached to the solar system, Prinzi said. “That light is required to be hard-wired for safety.”

Prinzi expressed his confidence that everything will be in order with full FAA approval by the time the public hearing takes place in late September.

“I will have the proper documentation that will show the FAA has signed off on this solar array,” Prinzi said.

With both FAA and board approval, Prinzi said the aim for Solar Liberty is to have the project at the farm finished before winter.

“The overall time frame for the install takes about two weeks for the actual panels, the DC side of the install to occur and then the AC side,: Prinzi said. “Combiner boxes and inverters — that’s a two week process. It should be about a three-week overall time of completion. When winter is over and the spring time blooms, that’s the most power that will be generated.”

Prinzi said that the solar array will offset Walker’s Farm usage from the grid by approximately 25 percent.

“I know that the farm would like to build and keep its extensive growth alive and well within the town (and continue to be) profitable for the Walkers and the town.”