A new community solar proposal was recently submitted for the construction of a facility on Bucksport Road in Ellsworth, ME. The Ellsworth Planning Board is hearing suggestions regarding the proposed solar farm and will be accepting applications from developers on Nov. 4. Among the projects expected to be reviewed at the Nov. 4 meeting is a community solar program off Bucksport Road. Compared to the other application, which is for a private array at Superior Docks, the Bucksport solar installation is much larger and will reach more people.
Planned at 42.3 acres, the Bucksport array is estimated to cost $9.8 million for Consolidated Edison Development Inc., the development company behind the application. Known as the Ellsworth Solar Project, the new community solar proposal is planned to have a capacity of 4.875-megawatts and will filter energy into the local grid.
The solar installation’s proposed site does not sit against parcels of water and is beyond 250’ of a nearby water body’s highest marking. According to the application, construction on the Ellsworth Solar Project will use logging roads and Consolidated Edison Development has already filed a protection permit for natural resources with the Department of Environmental Production. The application also included a decommissioning plan for when the site is no longer in use and a performance bond.
Addressing the lack of information regarding how many solar panels will be built and how much energy will be generated, Boyle Associates environmental consultant Dale F. Knapp stated that those figures often tie into power purchase agreements. As they are not required at the time of the application submission, they will be determined at a later date.
One caveat Consolidated Edison must follow is that the energy generated will have to be purchased in Maine. Since it’s being designated as a community solar installation, the electricity is intended to supply businesses and residences in the state.
The virtual meeting to discuss the Ellsworth Solar Project application is scheduled for Nov. 4 at 5:30 PM.