SANFORD — The city of Sanford’s long quest to somehow repurpose the Rushton Street landfill property and the former CGA property on New Dam Road is gaining new ground.

City Manager Steve Buck has signed a memo of understanding with Walden Green Energy to develop up to 13 megawatts of new solar energy on the two sites.

“The memorandum commits the developer and city to work over the next 30 days to finalize lease agreement terms for the parcels of land,” Buck told the City Council on Tuesday.

The lease would come back to the City Council for a vote. Buck said he expected that would happen within the next month.

The project will further extend Sanford’s green energy footprint. After receiving its final environmental permits in January, NextEra Energy Resources is poised to begin the process of clearing land and constructing a 50 megawatt solar array on city-owned land at Sanford Seacoast Regional Airport sometime this month. About 170,000 solar panels will be installed on about 250 of the 420 acres the company is leasing for the $69 million project that is expected to go online sometime in 2020. The city will earn $300,000 annually on the NextEra land lease and a projected $1.3 million annually in tax revenue.

The proposal for CGA and Rushton Street arrays is much smaller, at 13 megawatts.

The Rushton Street landfill was closed in 1982; leaks were later discovered and environmental remediation took place in the 1990s.

The former CGA circuit board recycling facility on New Dam Road was abandoned by its owners in the 1990s. The city took possession of the site in 2010. The clean up of about 4,000 tons of old copper circuit boards began in 2017 under the Maine Department of Environmental Protections Hazardous Waste Sites program.

The city began talking about a solar array on the two sites earlier this decade.

Director of Community Development Ian Houseal said the project helps fill out Sanford’s renewable energy portfolio and could help offset the city’s energy costs.

Walden Green Energy was founded in 2011 and headquartered in New York.

— Senior Staff Writer Tammy Wells can be contacted at 780-9016 or [email protected]

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