BENNINGTON — A 500 kW solar array is being proposed off Shields Drive in the Maneely Corporate Park.
The project, proposed by Maple Leaf Solar, a subsidiary of Essex Capital Partners, based in Boxford, Mass., will be built on 4.2 acres of an 8.2-acre lot owned by the Bennington County Industrial Corporation. Maple Leaf will ultimately purchase the lot.
Charles Grant, of Essex Capital Partners, told the Select Board Monday that his company has developed three other arrays in Vermont, one in Barton, another in White River Junction, and another in Jamaica. None are larger than 2.2 megawatts.
He said they, and this project, are involved in the state's net metering program. The power will feed into the grid owned by Green Mountain Power and sold to GMP customers in Quechee.
Grant said businesses at the Maneeley park were approached about being involved with the net metering agreement, but were not interested for various reasons, namely because the scale of the project is too small for their needs.
Assistant Town Manager Dan Monks told the board that the Planning Commission has been shown the proposal and made some recommendations to the Public Service Board, the state body that oversees all power projects. The Commission said it fits the town plan, and asked that existing vegetation be kept or augmented as needed to provide screening. It also said that glare, if there is any, must not be visible from the Bennington Battle Monument.
The project will feed power to the grid through existing, largely underground, infrastructure.
Board members seemed in favor of the project.
Grant said that prior to filing for a certificate of public good with a the Public Service Board, a pre-filing application must be made 45 days in advance. This presentation is part of that.