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$15M solar array pitched in Rowe

ROWE — A 35-acre woodland off Tunnel Road is being eyed for the development of a 6-megawatt solar farm.

That’s two to three times the size of other solar farms proposed or built in Franklin County in recent months.

Seaboard Solar LLC of Danbury, Conn., has submitted a project overview for a ground-mount solar array to be developed on property owned by Robert Dykeman, which abuts power lines and is situated at least 500 feet from the nearest home.

According to Michael F. Loin, northeast manager of Bertin Engineering, proponents met with the Planning Board and Board of Selectmen last Wednesday to discuss the application process.

“We’re in the process of design plans,” said Loin. “We hope to submit a special permit and site-plan application by the end of the month. We also hope to hold a couple of informational meetings for the public.”

Loin estimated that the cost of the project will be around $15 million. The project overview calls for up to 21,052 photovoltaic solar crystalline modules, which will be mounted on fixed angle racks, facing south, on grass-covered earth. The proposal includes a 20-year warranty for the inverters, which convert the direct-current (DC) of the PV panels into alternating current (AC) electricity.

This is one of the largest solar farms proposed within Franklin County. Solar farms in Northfield, Deerfield, and Greenfield have been 2-megawatt facilities. Last year, in West County, Charlemont had a proposal for a 2.6 MW solar farm on an 18-acre site of an old drive-in, off Route 2, but plans for that fell through.

Loin said the company already has buyers ready to purchase the solar-generated electricity, after the structure is built.

“It’s 1,500 to 1,700 feet back into the woods and will not be visible from any roadway or abuttor’s property,” he explained. “In all the engineering I’ve done, I don’t think I’ve seen a better location ... which has the power-generating capacity.”

Loin said proponents are currently negotiating a “Payment in Lieu of Taxes” agreement with the town’s Selectmen and Board of Assessors.

You can reach Diane Broncaccio at:
dbronc@recorder.com
or 413-772-0261, ext. 277

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