GDC Group Saco LLC, a division of Greenskies Clean Energy, of North Haven, Connecticut, which built this solar farm at Old Lyme, Connecticut, is proposing to build an 80-acre solar array on Old County Road in Saco. Courtesy Photo/Greenskies Clean Energy

SACO — A Connecticut company is proposing to build an 80-acre solar facility at 154 New County Road and will host an online informational meeting at 7 p.m. Wednesday, July 29, ahead of a planned August filing with the Maine Department of Environmental Protection.

The project, by GDC Group Saco LLC, a division of Greenskies Clean Energy of  North Haven, Connecticut, will include about 54,834 ground-mounted photovoltaic panels, according to project manager Sean Hale of VHB, a South Portland environmental consulting firm contracted to Greenskies Clean Energy.

Greenskies Senior project developer Gina Hoffman said the Saco project will generate 19.8 megawatts of energy. She said the company has purchase power agreements with utilities in place.

Hale said there have been meetings in the neighborhood, which is located in a rural part of Saco on New County Road (Route 5).

While it is unclear how long the permitting process will take, it is estimated the project, from site work to completion, would be about 14 to 18 months, said Jeff Hintzke, Greenskies Clean Eneergy vice president of policy and new markets. He said Greenskies has an option to lease the land.

While Greenskies currently has five rooftop solar systems in place in Maine and is working on a sixth, in Topsham, said Hintzke, the Saco project would be its first ground-mounted system in Maine. He said the company has ground-mounted solar facilities in Massachusetts and Connecticut.

Wednesday’s meeting is designed for Greenskies Clean Energy to provide details about the project and anticipated environmental impacts, and to let people know about opportunities for public comment during the permitting process, company officials said.

The company has not yet filed a site plan with the city of Saco, said City Planner Emily Cole-Prescott. She said Greenskies has informed the city it plans to first pursue site development review with the Maine Department of Environmental Protection.

It is his understanding a municipal zoning variance may be required, Hintzke said.

Company officials are using Aug. 15 as a target date for their application to the DEP for review under the site development statutes and the Natural Resources Act.

A legal advertisement for the project notes that a request for a public hearing or a request that the Board of Environmental Protection assume jurisdiction over the application must be received by the DEP in writing, no later than 20 days after the application is found complete by the DEP, and is accepted for processing. It notes a decision to hold a public hearing is at the discretion of the DEP commissioner or Board of Environmental Protection, that public comment on the application will be accepted throughout processing, which should be addressed to: April Stehr, Maine Department of Environmental Protection, 312 Canco Road, Portland, ME 04103.

After the applications are filed with the Department of Environmental Protection, the document may be reviewed at the Canco Road office or at Saco City Hall.

Greenskies was founded in 2009 and has constructed and operates more than 230 megawatts of ground or roof-top solar projects throughout the country, according to its website, www.greenskies.com. In January, the company announced a new financial partnership with JLC Infrastructure, as part of the transaction, JLC formed Greenskies Clean Enery to acquire substantially all of the assets and employees of Greenskies Renewable Energy, according to a January news release issued by the company.

To join the online meeting at 7 p.m. Wednesday, July 29, go to: https://vhb.zoom.us/j/91003021492?pwd= S0RCUHkydE9SREM4YUoxOC92UUVYOT09 Webinar ID is: 910 0302 1492, Password: 763862, or to call in, dial: (646) 558 – 8656.

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