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Brandon solar array proposal downsized

BRANDON — A planned 100-acre solar project on farmland in Brandon is now owned by a different company, and, if it is built, will be 25 percent smaller than originally planned.
Davenport Solar filed a notice of intent to file a petition with the Vermont Public Utility Commission, requesting approval to build the project, which has been downsized to 15-megawatts from the original 20-megawatt plan. A copy of the letter was sent to the state Agency of Natural Resources, the town of Brandon and the Rutland Regional Planning Commission on Sept. 29.
Davenport said in the letter that it intends to file its petition with the state utility regulator this fall. That will begin a 45-day comment period open to the town and the regional planning commission to make comments and recommendations about the project.
Originally planned for roughly 100 acres between Syndicate Road and West Creek Road, the project has now been split up into three separate fields occupying 70 acres of land in the same location.
Also, the original owners, Ranger Solar, sold the project to NextEra Energy Resources LLC.
The project is named for Thomas Davenport, the Forestdale native and inventor of the electric motor. Ranger Solar formed a special purpose Limited Liability Corporation, or LLC, for each of its solar projects. In Ludlow, for example, the company is called Coolidge, after the nearby birthplace of U.S. President Calvin Coolidge. When it is completed, Coolidge will be the largest solar array in the state at 20-megawatts.
In March 2016, the Brandon selectboard voted 4-1 to approve a project agreement that would pay the town roughly $1 million for infrastructure and economic development projects over the life of the proposed project. This past Tuesday, Brandon Town Manager Dave Atherton was asked if that agreement would change now that the project is smaller than originally proposed.
“I don’t think so,” he said. “I haven’t heard anything from them about it. I’m not really going to worry about it. I think we’re still on track. They haven’t come to renegotiate and we’re not in any hurry to.”

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