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Whately to vote on tax payment with solar developer

WHATELY —On Feb. 26, townspeople will be to asked to authorize a tax agreement between the town and a North Andover solar developer with plans to build a 2.4 megawatt solar array on Long Plain Road.

At the special town meeting, residents will vote on a payment in lieu of tax agreement with Nexamp, an independent solar power company started by two Army veterans, Daniel Leary and Dwight W. Thompson, in 2006.

The agreement would require Nexamp to pay $6,150 per megawatt on a 2.4 megawatt solar array at 345 Long Plain Road in its first year. The payment to the town would escalate each year by 2 1∕ 2 percent.

This summer, the town approved Nexamp’s proposal to put a solar array on land owned by Fairview Farms. Alan Sanderson, owner of Fairview Farms on Long Plain Road, will lease 9.79 acres of his 200-acre farm for a minimum of 20 years to the solar developers.

The height of the array will likely be 8 feet, with a ground clearance of 3 feet to allow for snow accumulation. It will be 600 feet from Long Plain Road, out of sight behind the farm greenhouses.

Construction is slated to begin in October.

The Fairview Farms array will be the second in Whately. The Zoning Board approved a special permit for construction of a 1.5-megawatt solar farm on 14.6 acres at 288 State Road on Szawloski Farms in July 2011. A nonprofit that assists people with the purchase of fuel and heating oil, Citizens Energy, leased the land for 25 years with the plan to sell the power to the Franklin County Jail and House of Correction on Elm Street in Greenfield, saving the county jail $40,000.

The meeting will take place at 6:45 p.m. at the Town Hall.

You can reach Kathleen McKiernan at::
or 413-772-0261 ext. 268.

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