An outline defines a natural resources survey around the proposed site of a new 20-megawatt solar array off Sabattus Street, noted top left, in Lewiston. The Boyle Associates survey is included in Old Mill Solar’s application in front of the Lewiston Planning Board.  

LEWISTON — Solar developers from New York have proposed a 20-megawatt, 101-acre solar array off of Sabattus Street.

The Planning Board will take up the $29.1 million project Monday night.

“This is by far the biggest solar project we have in Lewiston; most of the other projects we’ve approved are anywhere from 1  to 4 megawatts,” David Hediger, director of planning and code enforcement, said Friday.

DESRI and North Light Development are behind the Old Mill Solar project, according to the application with the board.

DESRI is described as “one of the leading owner-operators of renewable energy projects in North America,” with 40 projects with more than 2.3 gigawatts of capacity.

Developers have leased nine properties on Sabattus Street, Old Chadbourne Road, Beaumont Lane and Grove Street for the project, with the main entrance proposed for 1219 Sabattus St., near the Country Lane Estates neighborhood and an Central Maine Power corridor.

The land is mostly hay fields with a former gravel pit and 28 acres of forest that would need to be cleared. The nearby Hillside Family Riders Snowmobile Club trail won’t be affected.

It would require building 12,620 feet of gravel access roads, according to the application.

City staff is recommending approval.

“We shouldn’t be able to see much of it, either, given its location,” Hediger said. “While there will be some of the array visible from Sabattus Street, it’s a very large parcel that extends deep off of Sabattus Street with very few residential uses around it.

“We’re excited about the project,” he added. “Solar projects have minimal impact or demand on cities, not requiring any infrastructure upgrades. We are working with them on a decommissioning plan.”

The Lewiston Planning Board approved a 1-megawatt project two weeks ago by New England Solar Garden Corp. on Old Lisbon Road and NextGrid has three active plans for solar arrays in the city, looking to kick off its first this spring.

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