Solar array pitched for Route 116 in Bristol

BRISTOL — Bristol may get a new solar array next year.
Green Lantern Solar (GLS) is pitching a 150 kW array for a spot near Route 116, just south of Notch Road.
If built, it would not be visible from the highway, GLS officials say.
By Vermont’s net-metering standards, which allow for arrays up to 500 kW, this would be a relatively modest project, occupying less than an acre of land, said GLS Director of Development Ralph Meima.
At Vermont’s latitude, a 150 kW array would generate enough electricity to power roughly 40 to 45 homes for a year, he estimated.
For this particular array GLS will probably reach out to institutional customers: schools, fire departments, waste districts or other municipal entities.
“Preferably local, preferably institutional,” Meima said.
Before any of that can happen, however, the land, which is currently considered “ordinary agricultural land,” must be designated as a “preferred site,” according to rules set forth by the Vermont’s utilities regulator, the Public Utility Commission. For that to happen Green Lantern needs joint support from certain local and county entities.
Bristol’s Planning Commission and its Energy Committee already support the designation.
“The proposed site of the project lies within the general area designated as ‘Preferred’ by the committee who are currently developing Bristol’s Enhanced Energy Plan,” wrote Katie Raycroft-Meyer, chair of the Planning Commission, in a May 9 letter to the Public Utility Commission.
Following suit, the town selectboard at its Monday night meeting voted unanimously to support the designation.
Next (and last) on the list is the Addison County Regional Planning Commission. If and when its support is secured, GLS will apply to the regulator for a Certificate of Public Good, which could take three to six months to get approved.
If all goes well, GLS expects to begin construction in the second or third quarter of 2020.
Reach Christopher Ross at [email protected].

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