LEWISTON – The Lewiston Planning Board on Monday evening approved a new $ 11 million solar project for a field off Old Webster Road.
A subsidiary of Maryland-based developer EDF Renewables, which has more than 20 gigawatts of developed projects in North America, proposed the 4.99-megawatt project, according to a development review request.
The board of directors voted 6-0, according to town planner Doug Greene. Plans call for a 29-acre solar panel by Hayworth Solar Partners with approximately 15,184 panels at 268 Old Webster Road.
Allen Tate, associate director of project development for EDF Renewables, based in its New Hampshire office, said the company had between five and 10 projects in Maine at different stages.
He searches for sites by searching for properties near substations or three-phase power lines, then contacting landowners to assess their interest in a solar development lease.
“Another good thing about this site is that we can see through aerial photographs that this is largely a fairly open area that we wouldn’t have to do a lot of deforestation on – it’s still an advantage, ”said Tate, who toured the area on Monday. “It’s relatively flat, so easy to work with. And then it’s also surrounded by a pretty good wooden pad on all sides that we’re going to leave in place. It was appealing from that point of view, as it reduces the likelihood of neighbors worrying about not wanting to look at a solar project or things along those lines. “
The property is described in the TRC Environmental Corporation Consultants application as former farmland. This is a total of 55.6 acres with Hayworth renting up to 35. One side of the property and project borders I-95 and will be visible in the late fall and winter when the trees will lose their leaves.
The development will be set back at least 100 feet from the four streams on the site, depending on demand. The project will be bordered by a 7 foot high fixed knot agricultural fence. Power will connect to a Central Maine Power Co. distribution line on Old Webster Road in a mix of underground and overhead lines.
The land was recently leased to tenants with a greenhouse, which has since been removed, Tate said.
“We hope to start construction next year,” he said. “The timing of commercial operation by the end of next year is our goal; the only thing about it is that the site is included in a transmission cluster study that Central Maine Power and ISO New England are conducting. There are a number of projects in the region that trigger some need for evaluation of interconnection protection devices or wiring upgrades, things like that, that projects should install to ensure safe and continued operation. of the network. So we can’t start construction until this study is complete.
According to the presentation made to the board, on average 20 to 100 temporary jobs are created during construction, according to EDF’s national experience.
Construction is expected to take nine months.
Lewiston has hosted a number of solar projects over the past year, including a 3.875 megawatt solar panel on Taylor Hill Road, three NextGrid Inc. projects totaling over 10 megawatts, and one 20 megawatt 101-acre offshore project. from rue Sabattus. estimated at $ 500,000 in taxes per year.