Solar facility will front on Route 33

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FREEHOLD TOWNSHIP — The municipality may soon have its first solar energy generation facility.

On Nov. 12, the Freehold Township Zoning Board of Adjustment unanimously approved a site plan application and use variance to permit the installation of a solar energy facility, Township Engineer Tim White said.

The application filed by Grems-Kirk Railway, Wall Township, includes inverters, transformers, security fencing and driveways, White said.

The property, which is currently used as a sod farm, totals 47.4 acres and has frontage on Route 33 near Jerseyville Avenue, according to White.

The only lighting associated with the project, according to the applicant, will be on the ground level inverters and light will not project beyond 10 feet from the inverter’s location.

The facility will operate 24 hours per day, seven days per week. No materials will be stored at the property, White said.

Phase one work on the construction of the solar energy panels may begin in the spring, White said, adding that the facility will provide power to adjoining property owners under agreements that will be privately negotiated.

According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, New Jersey has adopted a Renewable Portfolio Standard requiring that more than 20 percent of net electricity sales come from renewable energy resources by 2021; specific solar and offshore wind requirements are included in the standard.

Previously, there was an approval granted for a solar energy generation facility on Ely Harmony Road, Freehold Township, (140 acres) that has yet to be built, Township Administrator Peter Valesi said.

— Christine Barcia

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