MECHANIC FALLS — The Planning Board unanimously approved the application for a second solar farm Monday night.

Plans for the $3.7 million solar array facility at 90 North St. were submitted by New England Solar Garden, Portsmouth, New Hampshire.

Sebago Technics will engineer assembling 9,288 solar panels over nearly 10 of the 42.65 acres in a rural zoned district.

The site will be leased from property owners, Jesse and Ruth Quirion, for 20 years.

Specifics include:

• Removing over 19 acres of trees and cutting 20 acres of vegetation to allow installation and eliminate shade of the solar panels.

• Employing erosion control measures such as seeding with native/naturalizing grass.

• Eliminating an unallowed ATV trail.

• Erecting an 8-foot high perimeter fence.

• Installing six electric poles and underground electric service.

• Installing concrete pads for inverters and transformers.

• Improving and widening a gravel driveway from the road, lengthening it another 660 feet for access to the site.

Conforming to local ordinances and the comprehensive plan, the farm “will generate little to no noise, odor, lighting and traffic,” according to the application. In addition, “due  to the topography, distance from the road and from existing neighboring residential uses, this project is likely to have minimal visual impact.”

Planning Board members believe the project will be completed in the spring of 2022.

The first solar power electric production facility in Mechanic Falls was approved in June of last year.

NextGrid Renewable Energy, based in California, was given the go-ahead to build a $5.1 million solar farm off South Main Street/Route 11 behind Timber Lane, extending toward Goss Farm on Elm Street. There will be 14,031 solar panels on 19.96 acres of the 37.8 acre rural with shoreland overlay site to be utilized.

This solar farm is split into two parcels due to Waterhouse Brook, wetlands, and a railroad bed situated between.

Both parcels are on property owned by Jennifer Lavoie.

According to Code Enforcement Officer Alan Plummer, Lavoie decided to sell the 37.8-acre site to NextGrid instead of leasing.

The Goss Farm will not have any solar panels on it,  but it was thought an access road from Elm Street was necessary to reach the solar facility as well.

A South Portland civil engineering firm, VHB, will oversee the construction.

No timeline has been established when this solar farm will be ready.

Plummer cited the extraordinary assistance given by Sherry Norton of Androscoggin Valley Council of Governments in assisting the town in developing the criteria required for both solar farms to be acceptable to local, state and federal ordinances.


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