Coastal Rivers Conservation Trust, in partnership with Kieve-Wavus Education Inc., plans to install a 243-kilowatt ground-mounted solar array behind its headquarters at Round Top Farm in Damariscotta.
Representatives from Liberty-based ReVision Energy, the contractor on the project, addressed the Damariscotta Planning Board about the site plan review pre-application on Monday, Nov. 9.
Allison Barbour, of ReVision Energy, said the array will consist of 640 ground-mounted solar panels installed in eight rows to the west of the land trust’s main building, between the building and the Damariscotta River.
Barbour said the array will generate approximately 311,000 kilowatt-hours of electricity to offset energy use at four Coastal Rivers buildings. Three of the buildings are at Round Top Farm, the fourth at Great Salt Bay Farm on Belvedere Road.
The company also plans to install two electric vehicle charging stations for public use near one of the buildings on Round Top Farm.
Town Planner Bob Faunce requested a stormwater analysis, since the site slopes down to the Damariscotta River. He expressed concern about erosion.
“That’s a lot of impervious area that you would put up,” Faunce said.
He said the setback from the river is 100 feet.
Board Chair Jonathan Eaton expressed concern about obstructing the view of the field, especially for boats on the Damariscotta River.
“You’re going to put this massive solar array in probably one of the most picturesque places, not only here, but in the state of Maine,” Eaton said.
Steven Hufnagel, executive director of Coastal Rivers, said by email that the organization has given a lot of thought to the location of the array and he looks forward to the planning board’s site visit.
“We’ve given a good deal of thought to siting the solar panels, and both the location on a slope that falls away as well as the orientation of its panels should minimize visual impacts,” Hufnagel wrote.
If approved, ReVision Energy plans to start construction in spring 2021, as soon as the ground thaws.
The planning board has scheduled a site visit to the property for 4 p.m., Thursday, Nov. 12.
Faunce advised ReVision Energy to contact a residential abutter to the Round Top Farm property before the site visit.
Faunce also suggested that the planning board look at revising the town’s land use ordinance to allow an owner of a vacant lot to install a solar array. Currently, that is not a permitted use.
He said that since there are buildings on the Coastal Rivers property, the solar array is permitted as an accessory use.