The Riverhead Solar 2 Project (the Project) is a 36 megawatt (MWac) solar photovoltaic electric generating facility proposed to be located in the town of Riverhead, Suffolk County, New York. The Project will positively impact both the environment and the local economy by reducing carbon dioxide emissions by approximately 73,000 metric tons each year – powering an estimated 8,500 homes each year – and producing significant tax revenue and other economic benefits for the area.
94-c Permitting Process & Riverhead Solar 2
Section 94-c (enacted in April 2020) established the ORES within the NYS Department of State to provide a single forum for the environmental review and permitting of proposed major renewable energy facilities. This includes renewable energy systems with a nameplate generating capacity of 25,000 kilowatts or more, co-located energy storage systems, and electric transmission facilities less than 10 miles in length. The final 94-c regulations were issued on March 3, 2021, and can be viewed here.
Article 10 applications that have received a completeness determination will be deemed complete under the new 94-c process, while projects currently undergoing the Article 10 siting process can choose to either remain in Article 10 or opt-in to 94-c. The 94-c regulations issued by ORES include an expedited permitting process to account for matters and issues already presented and resolved in the alternate Article 10 proceedings. Riverhead Solar 2 elected to opt-in to 94-c, filing notice of its election on November 25, 2020, and its Transfer Application on January 8, 2021. Because an application completeness determination for Riverhead Solar 2 was issued in the Project’s Article 10 proceedings, the Transfer Application was deemed complete upon filing.
Prior to submitting a 94-c permit application, projects are required to consult with the local agencies and stakeholders of the community(ies) in which the proposed project will be located. ORES also requires that state agencies (e.g. NY DEC) are consulted on wetland and stream delineations, threatened and endangered species, and archeological and cultural resources, if appropriate. Riverhead Solar 2 completed all necessary consultations prior to submission of its Transfer Application. Following consultations with impacted agencies, 94-c applicants must hold at least one meeting for community members. The Riverhead Solar 2 Virtual Community Info Session was held on August 4, 2021, and a recording of this meeting is available here.
Outside of the 94-c public comment period and community meeting requirements, Riverhead Solar 2 is committed to ongoing stakeholder and community engagement, including regular availability via the project email (firstname.lastname@example.org) and weekly virtual office hours via the AES NY toll-free number (866-757-7697), as well as a continued commitment to the “Public Involvement Program (PIP) Plan” filed under Article 10, even though it is not a 94-c requirement.
With the filing of its Transfer Application on January 8, 2021, Riverhead Solar 2 submitted a fee ($1,000 per MW) to ORES which was deposited into a local agency account for local agencies and potential community intervenors to use to participate in public comment periods or hearings. Within 30 days of the date of the Transfer Application filing (from January 8 to February 8, 2021), any local agency or potential community intervenor had the opportunity to request funding from the local agency account by making such request to the Office of Renewable Energy Siting.
No later than 60 days following the filing of a Transfer Application, ORES was required to issue a combined notice of availability of draft permit conditions and provide additional details regarding the public comment period and public comment hearing, and issues determination process. The Draft Permit for Riverhead Solar 2 was issued on March 9, 2021, and details are included in the ‘Permitting Updates’ section above.
ORES will be required to make a final decision on the application within one year of the Application submission, in accordance with 94-c. More information on the 94-c process and timeline is included in the recording of the Riverhead Solar 2 Information Session, held on August 4, 2020.
Documents filed in the 94-c Project proceedings may be viewed online by visiting the Riverhead Solar 2 DMM (Matter Number 21-00024). Interested parties may subscribe to the service list or request party status for the Riverhead Solar 2 Project by accessing the Project proceedings via the link above.
If you have any questions regarding the 94-c permitting process, please contact the ORES office at: email@example.com
Article 10 Application and transition to Section 94-c
On June 29, 2020, Riverhead Solar 2, LLC submitted an Article 10 Application under Article 10 of the Public Service Law to construct and operate the proposed 36 MW solar facility. Documents filed in the Article 10 Project proceedings can be viewed here.
On September 17, 2020, Riverhead Solar 2 submitted an Application Supplement that included a response to deficiencies in the Article 10 Application as identified by the DPS Siting Board.
On October 16, 2020 the Siting Board determined that the Article 10 Application together with the supplemental filing made on September 17, 2020 complied with Public Service Law Section 164.
On November 25, 2020, Riverhead Solar 2 filed a letter with the Secretary to the Public Service Commission noticing its election to be subject to Executive Law Section 94-c and stating its intent to file a Transfer Application with ORES.
On January 8, 2021, Riverhead Solar 2 filed its Transfer Application with ORES to transfer to the 94-c permitting process. Because an application completeness determination was issued in the Public Service Law Article 10 proceeding, the Transfer Application was deemed complete upon filing.
The Riverhead Solar 2 Project will be sited on approximately 290 acres of non-contiguous parcels. Land agreements with private landowners will provide a consistent revenue stream for local farmers and residents for the life of the Project, in excess of typical farm income. The Project will use the same type of photovoltaic (PV) panels installed in solar projects across the United States. Solar equipment is a proven and safe technology in applications ranging from utility-scale installations in fields, to distributed installations on the rooftops of homes, schools, and businesses.
The Project will provide a significant economic stimulus to the area during construction by providing jobs and local contracts for goods and services, and significant long-term economic benefits through community benefit payments, property tax revenue to the community, and lease revenue to local landowners. Additionally, the Project will benefit the state of New York through its payment of corporate income tax on income from the Project.
Responsibly-sited solar facilities can provide a net benefit to the preservation of agricultural land. The Project essentially provides a form of preservation for agricultural land by maintaining permeable land surface and improving soil quality over the Project life. The facility is not a permanent structure and funding is provided by Riverhead Solar 2 to decommission the Project at the end of its useful life. Setbacks, fencing, and vegetative buffering enable solar projects to blend comfortably into the community during operation. After decommissioning, the Project leaves no trace, and land can be returned to agricultural use.
Public Involvement Program (PIP) Plan
The purpose of the PIP, a requirement under the Article 10 permitting process, was to introduce the Project to the local community and other interested parties, explain the public outreach and involvement efforts that Riverhead Solar 2 will pursue throughout the development of the Project, and explain how these efforts comply with and satisfy New York State’s legal and regulatory requirements. The development efforts and the proposed PIP for Riverhead Solar 2 focused first and foremost on early and frequent communication with host communities, including the Town of Riverhead, the Town of Brookhaven and Suffolk County.
A draft PIP was filed with the DPS on October 20, 2017, initiating a 30-day DPS review and comment period. The DPS provided comments to the PIP on November 20, 2017. Riverhead Solar 2 filed the final PIP on December 20, 2017, and this document is available here.
In the PIP, Riverhead Solar 2 committed to, among other outreach activities, holding open-house style meetings to educate interested parties, receive public comments, and answer questions about the project. The first two of these meetings were held on March 14, 2018 from 1 pm to 3 pm, and from 5 pm to 7 pm, at the Residence Inn Long Island East End, 2012 Old Country Road, Riverhead, NY 11901. Although Riverhead Solar 2 has transferred to the 94-c permitting process, and the PIP is no longer required, the Project remains committed to following the PIP plan.
August 2020 information session
Riverhead Solar 2 DMM
(Matter Number 21-00024)
New York Office Hours - Have a question or comment for AES about their work in your community? Give us a call during these hours to talk to a company representative.
- Every Monday from 11:00 AM to 1:00 PM EST
- Every Thursday from 4:00 PM to 6:00 PM EST
- Call our New York office at 866-757-7697 (866-SLRPOWR)
For any inquiries or comments about Riverhead Solar 2 please contact us directly at:
Project Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Project Phone Number: 866-757-7697 (866-SLRPOWR)
292 Madison Avenue
New York, NY 10017
Local document repositories
Riverhead Free Library
330 Court Street
Riverhead, NY 11901
Riverhead Solar 2, LLC
c/o Young & Somner, LLC
Executive Woods, Five Palisades
Drive Albany, NY 12205
If you would like to be designated as a Project Stakeholder and added to the Project's Master Stakeholder List, please fill out the following form. Individuals and groups on this list receive mailed copies of the regulatory project notices required by 94-c.