2.6 megawatt solar array proposed for Churchill Street site in Pittsfield

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PITTSFIELD — A city property owner is working with a Vermont firm to create a 2.6-megawatt solar power generating array for a parcel off Churchill Street.

According to plans filed with the Community Development office, Aegis Renewable Energy, of Waitsfield, Vt., is proposing the facility on approximately 61 acres on the east side of Churchill Street with 1,752 feet of road frontage. The site is located about 1.2 miles from the West Street intersection and south of the Dan Casey causway at Onota Lake.

The land is owned by Todd Driscoll, of West Housatonic Street, and is undeveloped forest and meadowland that was once part of a horse farm located to the south.

Plans call for tree clearing or taller tree thinning on sections of the parcel, which is near Blythewood Stables property and Pittsfield Girls Club land. There also are two wetlands buffer zones in the area, according to the permit application narrative, and the parcel is near Onota Lake but does not have frontage on its shore.

The ground-mounted solar panels, which will be set up on about 10 acres of the 61-acre site, would generate electricity to be fed into the Eversource power grid running along Churchill Street.

The developers, working with SK Design Group Inc., are expected to go before the Zoning Board of Appeals for a special permit, the Community Development Board for site plan review, and the Conservation Commission for environmental permits. All of the meetings are expected to take place this month.

The property is in a residentially zoned section but public or quasi-public utilities may be allowed with a special permit.

The size of the proposed solar array compares with a 2.91-megawatt generating facility at a 66-acre former city landfill site within Downing Industrial Park off Hubbard Avenue that was approved last fall. In September, the city entered into an agreement with Ameresco Inc., of Framingham, to install that solar array on about 12 acres of the former landfill site.

In that project, the city will receive electricity credits for a reduced rate over the 20-year lease period for the property.

Contact Jim Therrien at 413-496-6247.


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