FAIRFIELD — The group developing plans for what would be one of the state’s larger solar farms hopes to submit environmental permit applications this fall.

The proposed 20-megawatt array would be on 120 acres of privately owned land on U.S. Route 201, about a mile south of the Sappi plant in Skowhegan, said Liz Payton, the project’s manager for NextEra Energy Resources, the company developing the array.

Originally, the project was proposed by Ranger Solar, but those assets were acquired by Florida-based NextEra. Payton said the company has 240 acres of land, but designed the project to occupy less space. The land is currently an active farm and will remain so.

“We’re hoping to be operational by the end of 2019,” Payton said.

The array would provide energy for about 7,000 homes, with the state of Connecticut purchasing the power, said project director Aaron Svedlow. An estimated $30 million project, it would be built, owned and operated by subsidiaries of NextEra, which is also working on a project of similar size in Clinton.

The Fairfield project would create about 85 construction jobs, and there would be some full-time maintenance jobs once the site is operational. The site is over a Central Maine Power Co. transmission line, which Payton said NextEra would need to test to ensure the line has the capacity for 20 megawatts.

The array would have no impact on nearby wetlands and is hardly visible because of its location, Svedlow said. The Maine Department of Environmental Protection and the Fairfield Planning Board need to approve the project.

Payton pointed out the local benefits with projects like these, including new property tax benefits, job creation and opportunities for education.

“It’s a really exciting time for solar in Maine,” she said.

NextEra is one of the largest generators of solar energy in the country. The company owns the power plant on Cousins Island in Yarmouth, and also develops other forms of renewable energy. The company is the largest owner and operator of wind-generation facilities in the country, has gas-fired facilities and works with nuclear energy.

The Fairfield announcement came a few weeks after Waterville announced its intention to facilitate a large-scale solar project on its capped landfill. Gizos Energy, a Falmouth-based energy company, is proposing a 20-megawatt project that would likely be the largest such project on a closed landfill in the state, and would cost the developer between $25 million and $30 million. The partnership also includes a smaller project on city-owned property on a different part of Webb Road.

Should these projects go forward, Fairfield and Waterville would join a crowded field of large-scale solar projects in central Maine.

This summer, it was announced that part of what would be the state’s largest array, a 41,000-panel solar project in Pittsfield, would go online by the end of 2017. Once fully operational, the Pittsfield array will surpass the size of the 26,000-panel farm at the Madison Business Gateway, which occupies about 22 acres and generates about 5 megawatts.

Colin Ellis can be contacted at 861-9253 or at:

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Twitter: @colinoellis