Permits for two solar projects for the town of Colchester have been submitted for approval by the Vt. Public Utilities Commission, hopefully later this year, officials say.
The first of the two projects is planned to be constructed off of Malletts Bay Avenue in an old field leased to Sam Mazza farm.
When the plans were being made for the project, it was discovered no lease was actually written up for the land, according to a memo from town manager Aaron Frank to the Colchester Selectboard. To correct this, a lease has been drawn up and posted for public comment.
Frank also noted the town would lease a bit less land to the Sam Mazza farm in order to make room for the solar project.
“It turned out that the best place for the solar farm was the rockiest part of the farm field, so they should work out well together,” he explained.
The “Pumpkin Patch” solar project will provide about 30 percent of the town’s energy once completed.
Additionally, the project will seemingly pay for itself. Not only will the town save over $450,000 over the project’s lifetime with the implementation of the solar panels, but it will also net the town almost $45,000 by selling excess energy back to the electric company, Frank said.
The permit for the project is expected to be awarded in September with construction following soon after.
This fall will also see the construction of another solar panel project near the intersection of Poor Farm Road and Routes 7/2, informally called the Roosevelt Highway project.
Similarly to the Pumpkin Patch project, the Roosevelt Highway project will provide Colchester with about one-third of its electric energy needs. It will also provide the town with about $46,000 in metering credits every year and save the town almost $500,000 during the solar panels’ lifetime.
The project is also still waiting to be awarded a permit, which will most likely happen this fall. Construction must wait until November 1, however, in order for bat roosting season to be complete before trees can be cleared.