Huge solar farm pitched for Halladay Road in Middlebury

MIDDLEBURY — A Vermont company is proposing to buy a 112-acre parcel off Halladay Road in Middlebury as the potential site for 5-megawatt solar farm that would feed energy into the state’s electrical grid.
Representatives of GroSolar gave the Middlebury selectboard a brief overview of their project on Tuesday. As currently envisioned, the solar farm would cover approximately 40 acres of the 112-acre parcel, owned by the estate of Ruth Quesnel.
Jordana Jusidman, GroSolar’s director or project development, said the topography and tree lines on the site would mitigate the visual impacts of the new solar farm, which would feature arrays mounted on a pile system with fixed-rack solar panels with a projected life expectancy of around 35 years.
“We think this site presents an interesting opportunity,” Jusidman told the board. “It is very well screened as-is, and tucked away.”
GroSolar will need to obtain and Certificate of Public Good from the Vermont Public Service Board to pursue the project. But company officials want town support for their plan before they apply to the PSB. With that in mind, GroSolar in the coming weeks will conduct site visits with neighbors and municipal officials. GroSolar Director of Business Development Lincoln Lande first pitched the company’s tentative proposal to the Middlebury Planning Commission back on Oct. 19.
Jusidman told the selectboard the arrays can be placed in a manner that would avoid some Class I and II wetlands on the parcel. She added a preliminary search indicates no endangered species within the area that would be developed.
“It looks good from a visual and environmental perspective,” Jusidman said.
As proposed, the system would be mostly hidden by existing land formations and wooded landscape, according to GroSolar officials. The property could be accessed from Route 7 and the south end of Middle Road, officials said. They added ongoing maintenance for the array — which would be entirely fenced — would require “minimal” traffic.
Jusidman said GroSolar would use pollinator friendly seed mixes for plantings at the site.
Selectboard members said they appreciated the advance notice for the project.
Selectwoman Heather Seeley asked if the current landowners had considered other potential uses for the property — such as for affordable housing, of which there is a shortage in the area.
IPJ Real Estate representative Amy Ryan, who represents the Quesnel estate, said the family had looked into the possibility of a subdivision. But they learned the parcel could accommodate only six homes — at a substantial development cost, Ryan noted.
Ultimately, GroSolar officials want to sign a memorandum of understanding with Middlebury officials to confirm local support for the project. At that point, GroSolar would formally submit the project for PSB review. If all proceeds smoothly, construction on the Halladay Road solar farm would begin during the first quarter of 2019, according to Jusidman.
“I would suggest this is a good introduction (to the project) and we can ask more questions during the site visit,” selectboard Chairman Brian Carpenter said.
Reporter John Flowers is at [email protected].

Share this story:

More News
Sports Uncategorized

MAV girls’ lax nets two triumphs

The Mount Abraham-Vergennes cooperative girls’ lacrosse team moved over .500 with a pair o … (read more)

Op/Ed Uncategorized

Hector Vila: The boundaries of education

There is a wide boundary between the teacher and the student, found most profoundly in col … (read more)

Naylor & Breen Uncategorized

Naylor & Breen Request for Proposals

Naylor and Breen 042524 2×4.5 OCCC RFP

Share this story: