GOULDSBORO — The Planning Board approved Borrego Solar Systems Inc.’s site plan application for a 5,050-panel solar farm, but added a requirement to widen the access road following a related public hearing Tuesday night. The 1.99-megawatt solar and energy storage facility is not expected to start operating this year.
At the hearing, attended by more than 30 people online and in-person, the Planning Board voted 5-0 to OK the site plan, but stipulated that the gravel-topped access road be widened from 14 to 20 feet to allow for two-way traffic and emergency vehicles. Hardly any questions were asked about the project that is next to land owned by Frenchman Bay Conservancy and 16 other property owners.
“This is something new for the town of Gouldsboro. I am very concerned the road is insufficient,” Planning Board Chairman Ray Jones said Tuesday night before Brandon Smith, a civil engineer with Borrego’s Lowell, Mass.-based regional office, agreed to widen the access road to 20 feet.
“If that is what the board wishes, we can make that happen,” Smith said. Borrego’s project developer Greg Rosshirt concurred.
Rosshirt said construction for the array could start later this year, but the company is still awaiting final approval from utilities. Financing also must be secured to undertake the project.
Smith said the solar farm will occupy 13.35 acres within a 7-foot-tall chain-link fence. The captured solar energy will be stored on site. The solar panels will be mounted on galvanized steel racking. No concrete foundation will be required. “The racking allows us to match the terrain,” he said.