Solar arrays envisioned at two sites in Great Barrington
GREAT BARRINGTON -- A Connecticut man with local ties will be going before various town boards soon to outline his plan for building solar panels on two sites in town.
Kirt Mayland, of Lakeville, Conn., a former energy attorney and a 1994 graduate of Dartmouth College, will make an informal presentation before the Conservation Commission on April 23 to explain his two-pronged project.
Mayland emphasized that the meeting is informational only, "to acquaint the commission with the plan."
He has options to purchase a 65-acre parcel on an old landfill just south of the Rising Paper Mill and to lease 8 to 10 acres on another former landfill off VanDeusenville Road.
The plan is to construct solar panels on both. Mayland estimates the mill site has the potential to generate three to four megawatts of power, while the VanDeusenville site will, in theory, generate between 1.5 to 2 megawatts of power.
Mayland's initial plan is to sell the energy to the Town of Great Barrington. He said he is also talking with the Berkshire Hills Regional School District and the Southern Berkshire Regional School district.
"I think the good thing is that we're going to keep the sales local," he said.
He added that he has been in touch with town and school officials about the plan, and that there is support for the proposal.
Mayland said his plans are to keep the projects relatively out of sight as much as possible.
"I don't expect any visual effect on the neighbors," he said. "We'll try to minimize that. I understand there may be some concerns, and I want to work with the abutters to see what we can do to minimize the impact."
According to the Solar Energy Industrial Association, there are currently more than 286 solar companies in the state, A total of 464 megawatts of solar electric capacity has been installed statewide.
This has resulted in the cost of residential and commercial electrical power falling by 13 percent in the last year. State officials expect, as more solar facilities are installed, to see those costs continue to decrease.
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