Maine is receiving two additional community solar facilities thanks to the Franklin Planning Board’s decision earlier this month. After being presented with two separate plans for solar installations, the planning board unanimously voted to approve. The applications were submitted by Boyle Associates representative Dale Knapp for Con Edison Clean Energy Business (Con Ed) and featured plans for sites at Hog Bay Road and Cards Crossing.
According to Knapp, the Con Ed community solar facilities will be two individual projects on separate lots. However, the state will be viewing them as one project as a whole. Of the two installations, the largest will be set on a nearly 63-acre plot on Hog Bay Road’s northern side and cost over $14 million. Before being eyed for community solar, the site was a gravel pit. This sizable array, which is projected to generate 6.596-megawatts, will be overseen by Franklin ME 2 and Franklin ME 3, LLC, both of which Con Ed created specifically for this occasion.
The considerably smaller facility will be built on over 15 acres of land along Cards Crossing’s western edge. According to the approved application, the lot will house a $5.4 million solar project operated by Franklin ME 1, LLC. The Cards Crossing plant will generate upwards of 2.5-megawatts of energy for homeowners and small businesses.
Once subscriptions are open on the two sites, residents will be able to participate in the community solar operations. Every subscriber is eligible to receive discounted energy through monthly utility bill credits. Knapp reassured that the energy produced by the sites must be offered to Maine residents.
Based on the application for the two installations, Con Ed will need to build access roads, an on-site transformer, solar panels, switchgear pads, and a concrete inverter. As Knapp explained, the projects will have a low impact and haven’t faced outward opposition.
Along with the two approved sites, the Franklin Planning Board also acknowledged a third application for an additional farm. The board voted unanimously to complete the application and prepare it for a public hearing in January 2021.