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Planning Board hears solar proposal

2.1 MW array across from Maces Pond
By Gabriel Blodgett | Nov 22, 2019
Source: Town of Rockport The Planning Board heard a pre-application for a solar array off of Route 17 across from Maces Pond.

Rockport — A 2.1 megawatt solar array has been proposed across from Maces Pond on Route 17 in Rockport. At the Nov. 21 meeting, the Planning Board considered a pre-application from Pine Gate Solar, represented by Dale Knapp and Chris Byers of Boyle Associates, a Portland-based environmental consulting firm, to build the array on approximately 16 acres of the 60-acre parcel.

At the meeting, Knapp said the proposal comes as a result of LD 1711, legislation passed earlier this year which “seeks to promulgate small distributed generation solar projects across the state.”

He said the pre-application was a “temperature check” to see if the town would be supportive of the project.

The next step for Pine Gate and Boyle Associates is to hold a forum and invite neighbors and residents to discuss construction and expectations and answer any questions they may have before the project progresses too far.

Chris Byers, also representing Boyle Associates, said the company will put together an informational packet and plans to hold a public meeting in December or January.

If the response is positive, the applicants would return to the Planning Board for final approval.

Knapp said the project would produce very little noise after construction, would minimally affect birds or wildlife and the meadow underneath the panels would provide a buffer for stormwater to limit runoff.

He said the Maine Department of Environmental Protection has stated that these projects are not impervious.

At this early stage Byers said it is unclear whether the energy generated from the project would be for municipal, residential, or commercial use, but in keeping with the requirements of LD 1711, the power would stay in Maine. According to Byers, 2.1 MW is enough to power roughly 275 homes for a year.

Byers said in order to take advantage of the new legislation, much of the permitting and approval has to be done by July 2020. He said the hope is to have the project completed by early 2021.

At the Nov. 21 meeting, the Planning Board also approved an application from Marga and Steve Hutchinson to operate a family childcare service from their home at 6 Robinson Drive.

The business would be open during the school year from approximately 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. and can accommodate up to 12 children up to age five, as allowed by licensing with Maine Department of Health and Human Services.

UPDATE: A previous version of this article stated the array would be built at 8 Fiske Lane. The property on Route 17 is owned by Lexi Krause who lives at 8 Fiske Lane.



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Comments (2)
Posted by: John L Hart | Dec 04, 2019 20:30

I  suspect that the 3-phase line you mention that is located to the east is a supply line rather than a service line. Supply lines are usually not intended for re-connections or for multiple service interruptions. Service lines such as the one which will be utilized for the solar array connection for this project are intended to provide a 3-phase power source for operations with this required power supply, and can be utilized for this solar array interruption. I am not an electrical expert or engineer, but just passing along what little bit of information that I have learned in the field. I would not be surprised if the supply line mentioned here is related to the Pen-Bay Hospital operations ? Anyone out their from CMP want to educate us ?

Posted by: Gerald A Weinand | Nov 23, 2019 18:20

Just curious why the developers are not using the existing utility right of way just to the east of the proposed solar array. It leads directly to the transformer pad just to the north of Meadow Street about a half mile away and is already clear cut of trees and runs right thru the middle of their property.

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