Cranberry Valley Solar Array Goes To Planning Board

By: William F. Galvin

Topics: Renewable Energy

Photovoltaic cells.  PIXABAY

HARWICH — The planning board will be acting on a site plan review special permit for a major solar photovoltaic facility at two locations at the Cranberry Valley Golf Course. The arrays are expected to generate 282 kilowatts of power annually.

The project is proposed by Greenskies Renewable Energy, which was the successful bidder on a package put together by the Cape and Vineyard Electric Cooperative, the organization commissioned through the Cape Light Compact to develop electric generation projects and enter into long-term power purchase agreements.

CVEC also oversaw the solar array system in operation at the former town landfill and recently put bids out for additional solar array projects approved by town meeting in 2019.

Under the agreement the town provides the space for the solar array and the systems are owned and operated by the successful bidder. The town gets a portion of the revenues generated from the production of electricity. The town, for example, received $440,000 last year from the solar array located at the former landfill.

The proposal going before the planning board on Tuesday evening seeks to locate a solar array with 76 panels on the roof of the newly installed cart barn at the municipal golf course. A ground-mounted system with 648 panels is proposed on 1.26 acres of land to the north of the cart barn. That array will be surrounded by a six-foot fence.

The proposed ground-mounted solar panels will be installed on a racking system on posts driven into the ground. Limited clearing and grading will be required, the company’s work description narrative states. Any areas of soil disturbance will be seeded with a native wildflower and grass mix.

There are wetlands near the proposed facility, including a vernal pool located to the east and an irrigation pond on the west side. The proposal calls for the facility to be located outside the 100-foot buffer to the vernal pool, but within 100 feet of the irrigation pond. The project proponents will submit an administrative review application with the town’s conservation department.

The town has been battling with Eversource over providing the necessary upgrade in service connections to accommodate the solar project and electric cart operation at the golf course. Those issues have been resolved, and Greenskies has submitted the electrical plans and interconnection application to Eversource and will continue to coordinate required system upgrades.

Greenskies will be the owner and operator of the facility. The company’s operation and maintenance team monitors and maintains all their facilities 24/7. Preventative maintenance is performed twice a year, according to the permit application narrative. The company will also coordinate with the fire department prior to the facility being operational to ensure the department has the information required in case of an emergency.