ELLSWORTH — A proposed Bucksport Road solar farm scheduled for sketch plan review early in April is the fifth solar project to come before the Planning Board since October of 2020.
First, two arrays on Mariaville Road found approval, with the city entering into a contract to purchase the net energy credits generated by the arrays to offset the cost of powering municipal and school buildings. The projects were approved in early fall of 2020.
Next, the 42.3-acre, $9.8 million Ellsworth Solar LLC project off Bucksport Road was approved in October of 2020. Then, in February, the board approved the Gilpatrick Solar 19.8-acre array off Bangor Road.
Now, Nexamp Solar LLC is seeking approval for a 45-acre ground-mounted array on a 94.6-acre parcel at a development cost estimated at $11 million to $12 million. The project is planned for two adjacent lots within the swath of undeveloped land off Bucksport Road. The parcels (Tax Map 37, Lots 20 and 20-1) are owned by Adelbert Gaspar of Ellsworth. Nexamp has a lease and option to purchase in place, based on the sketch plan application.
With headquarters in Boston, Nexamp is behind nearly 100 community solar projects across five states. Community solar facilities are shared by multiple community subscribers who receive credit on their electricity bills for their share of the power produced.
The sketch plan also describes plans for sedimentation and detention basins, concrete equipment pads, electrical and interconnection equipment, electrical conduit, new utility poles and risers, fencing, gates and associated seeding and stabilization of the site. Construction of a 20-foot-wide gravel access road off Bucksport Road will lead to the middle of the solar array. The agent representing Nexamp, Meridian Associates, has spoken with the Fire Department, and turning areas for emergency vehicle access are included in the sketch plan.
The site is located in the rural and drinking water zones where the project as outlined in the sketch plan is a permitted use. A portion of the site is subject to stream protection because of a small stream in the southwest corner of the parcel.
The Planning Board is set to discuss the Nexamp sketch plan when it meets online on April 7 at 5:30 p.m.