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The project site which is owned by ANDRE L. CHARBONNEAU of ANDRE CHARBONNEAU & SONS SAND AND GRAVEL, LLC, now or formally operated by The Butler Company, is located just north of two existing Ameresco solar facilities on the Herb Holden/Botticello sand and gravel pits.
According to the company, the solar farm will be built on approximately 485 acres of formerly used gravel pits and farmland and will generate 120 megawatts (MW) of renewable electricity, which is enough to meet the clean energy needs of more than 23,000 homes.
Site approval for the project was obtained through a collaborative effort between VHB and DESRI, and was granted by the Connecticut Siting Council in the spring.
The Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection will be issuing stormwater approvals in the near future (CTDEEP).
Additionally, VHB provided due diligence and feasibility studies, land surveying, vernal pool observations, cultural resource studies, visual impact assessments, traffic management plans, and noise studies for the project in addition to application and permitting.
The farm praised by developers as a new source of renewable energy while also aligning with Connecticut’s goals for a clean energy future. Their stated plan is to reduce carbon emissions by offsetting energy generation from more carbon intensive sources, which will help the state achieve its clean energy future goals.
It is proposed that a new electric substation be built as part of the Project, which will transfer energy to the transmission lines that cross the site and distributed to United Illuminating and Eversource.
The electricity generated by the farm is expected to be used to power homes in Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and Connecticut, among other states.
The benefits to the local community and economy? The developers say in addition to the project’s numerous renewable and sustainable attributes, are:
-DESRI will be designated as the Town’s largest taxpayer, paying an estimated $378,000 in annual taxes and investing an additional $1.5 million in infrastructure improvements.
-Considering that the average solar farm in Connecticut produces approximately 5 MW of energy or less, the 120 MW Gravel Pit Solar project is slated to be the largest solar project in New England.
Construction is expected to begin in the fall of this year, with a completion date of late 2022 as a target date. The project’s power agreement is with Eversource.