Photo: sPower

Riverhead Town will see nearly $1.5 million in up-front cash revenues from a deal struck with sPower in connection with a 125-acre, 20 MW solar electric generating facility on Middle Country Road in Calverton.

The solar power company will pay the town $450,000 for an easement in Edwards Avenue, to allow the company to connect the facility to a LIPA substation.

sPower will also pay Riverhead Town $1.05 million in connection with a community benefit agreement, the complete terms of which remain to be negotiated.

In addition, the company will sign a 15-year payment-in-lieu-of-taxes (PILOT) agreement with the town that will require sPower to pay $460,000 in the first year. That sum will be split between the town and school district, Supervisor Laura Jens-Smith said. The company will still be obligated for special district taxes in addition to the PILOT amount. The PILOT agreement will have an escalator clause that will increase the PILOT amount each year of the 15-year period, according to town attorney Robert Kozakiewicz.

The easement being granted by the town is specific to the Riverhead Solar One project and allows the installation of an underground electric transmission line for this project only, Jens-Smith said. It does not cover a second transmission line for a second project now being reviewed by the state public service department.

Jens-Smith said the town expects to enter into separate easement, community benefit and PILOT agreements with sPower in connection with Riverhead Solar Two, a 36MW solar power generation facility proposed for a separate 290-acre site in Calverton should the state certify that project.

Jens-Smith said the community benefit agreement revenues will be earmarked for specific purposes, such as economic development initiatives, recreation or preservation.

The supervisor said she hopes the town board will agree to use the $450,000 easement fee to fund a master plan update. The easement payment will be made when the agreement is fully executed by both parties.

“It’s past time for getting that done,” she said.

Jens-Smith said she is “very proud” of the agreement negotiated with sPower. “It’s a good deal for both the town and the company,” she said. “More renewable energy is beneficial to all of us. I look
forward to working with them not only on this but in the future.”

The board last night authorized the supervisor to sign a memorandum of understanding calling for the negotiation of the PILOT, community benefit and easement agreements and the payment by sPower of $1.05 million, $450,000 and $460,000 in connection with each, respectively.

The memorandum of understanding has already been signed by the company.

Map showing location of sPower’s existing and proposed solar energy facilities in Calverton.

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Denise Civiletti
Denise is a veteran local reporter, editor, attorney and former Riverhead Town councilwoman. Her work has been recognized with numerous awards, including investigative reporting and writer of the year awards from the N.Y. Press Association. She is a founder, owner and co-publisher of this website.Email Denise.