A solar farm is proposed for land adjacent to the electrical substation on Fort Hill Road in Gorham.

GORHAM — Boston-based company Nexamp hopes to build a 30-acre solar farm on a hayfield off Fort Hill Road this summer or fall.

It proposes a photovoltaic solar ground-based array on land it would lease from Norman Martin Trust, south of 412 Fort Hill Road (Route 114), according to the town planning office.

The array would cover 30 acres of the 83-acre property and would serve the energy needs of nearly 1,000 homes, Keith Hevenor, Nexamp communications director, said in an email Wednesday to the American Journal.

“The project will connect to the Central Maine Power grid,” Hevenor said.

Gorham Community Development Director Tom Poirier called the proposal “rather substantial.”  The project would take up most of the field portion of the property, he said.

Nexamp has developed, built and operated numerous large-scale community arrays in seven states, mostly in Massachusetts. Hevenor said it would like to start on the Gorham project in summer or early fall.  

The company will present its plans in a pre-application discussion with the Planning Board at 7 p.m. on Monday, Feb. 3, at the municipal center, 75 South St. The discussion is the first step in the town review process.

Christopher Ryan of Meridian Associates Inc. of Massachusetts will represent Nexamp at the meeting. Repeated efforts to reach Ryan for comment were unsuccessful.

On its website, Nexamp said its community solar program “enables individuals to subscribe with no upfront costs or long-term contract and save money on their monthly electric bills.”

A photovoltaic system converts sunlight directly into electricity using semiconductors.

The planning office had few details of the project this week, but the item on the Planning Board’s agenda states it would include gravel access, perimeter fence and utility poles.  Much of the land now is used to grow and harvest hay.

The next step, Poirier said, would be a formal application for the project and a Planning Board site plan review. The project would require a permit from the Maine Department of Environmental Protection.

In an unrelated project, the town of Gorham is seeking proposals for a solar photovoltaic system at the town’s Public Works facility on Huston Road.

A system could be connected to the power grid and the town would buy power at a discounted rate or a project could be utilized to offset power needs at the facility. “We’re looking for options,” Poirier said.

Potential sites include the 15-acre former landfill area, a 10-acre open field and the roof of the Public Works building.

Gorham School Department could also be interested in exploring options for power, according to a posting on the town’s website.


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