Four proposed utility-scale solar array projects, similar to these in Augusta, are scheduled to go before the Scarborough Planning Board on Nov. 22. Joe Phelan/Kennebec Journal

SCARBOROUGH — Scarborough Town Council recently approved changes to the Zoning Ordinance to allow large-scale solar energy systems which can provide electricity directly to the power grid. On Nov. 22, the Planning Board is scheduled to review several proposals Monday. will learn more about several such solar farms being proposed in town.

Monday’s agenda includes proposals for four solar farms: one on Johnson Road, one on County Road, one on Route 1 and another at West Beech Ridge Road.

The Zoning Ordinance amendment, which passed unanimously Oct. 20, dictates performance standards for utility-scale solar farms that can supply energy to the power grid. Previously, the town only allowed solar energy systems to provide energy on site.

Prior to passage of the amendment, town staff was aware that several such utility-scale solar farms were already in the works.

According to the amendment, solar arrays can only be constructed on parcels of 25 acres or larger and only within the town’s industrial, light industrial, rural, farming and manufactured housing zones. The height must conform to the zone in which a solar development is located, with a maximum of 20 feet. The minimum setback is 50 feet or in accordance with the zoning district’s setback requirements, whichever is greater.

The Sustainability Committee began working on the amendment in 2019.

According to an Aug. 27 memo to the town council from Planning Director Jay Chance and Sustainability Coordinator Jami Fitch, the Sustainability Committee worked to update the town’s zoning ordinance regarding performance standards for solar array farms due to changes in state law. Also, they said, the ordinance change conforms with priorities in the town’s Comprehensive Plan and with the goals of the town’s Energy and Sustainability Plan, such as providing Scarborough landowners with revenue generating options to slow the conversion of agricultural land into housing lots and promotes the development of clean, renewable energy.

On Nov. 3, the town council reconsidered and again passed the utility-scale solar energy systems amendment after adding minor changes to the setback requirements for developments constructed on closed and capped landfills

Four solar farm proposals will be going before the Planning Board is scheduled to review several proposals Monday. on Monday. According to the agenda, they include:

• BlueWave Beech Ridge Brook, LLC, is proposing to construct and operate a 5 megawatt, or MW, solar farm on a 19-acre portion of a 140-acre lot of open fields, woodlands and a borrow pit, to provide community distributed electric generation at 12 Johnson Road.

• BD Solar Larson, LLC, is applying for a 4.99 MW ground-mounted, community-scale solar array to be built on a closed landfill on County Road to supply energy to homes, businesses and municipalities.

• Berrego Solar Systems, Inc., on behalf of West Scarborough Solar 1, LLC, is proposing to develop a 1.99 MW AC unmanned, ground-mounted solar photovoltaic energy generating facility with energy storage. It would be accessed by an existing gravel road and a proposed gravel road at 720 Route 1.

• MEVS, LLC, is proposing a 7.4 MW DC and 4.9 MW AC photovoltaic, ground-mounted solar facility at 22 West Beech Ridge Road.

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