Solar farm on town warrant

MILFORD – Voters will soon get to weigh in on plans for large solar farm planned for the Brox property.

The proposal will be one item on the town warrant, which will be the subject of public hearing Monday, Jan. 14 at 6:30 p.m. The town Deliberative Session is planned for Saturday, Feb. 2 at 9 a.m. in the town hall auditorium.

The solar farm would be on 120 acres of leased town-owned property off Perry Road. At the selectmen’s Dec. 17 meeting Town Administrator Mark Bender said the initial 25-year lease would give the town potential revenue of $3.4 million and three five-year renewals could add $2.8 million, plus there would be payments in lieu of taxes, yet to be determined.

But it wouldn’t happen quickly he said, and designing, engineering , permitting and building the facility would take years.

Granite Apollo, a Manchester-based solar energy company, made the proposal in October and selectmen and the company signed a letter of intent in November. The approximately 20-megawatt project would generate enough clean electricity to power approximately 5,000 New England homes, according to the company, which expects to negotiate a power purchase agreement within the ISO-New Engand marketplace.

ISO-NE is a not-for-profit company authorized by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to ensure the availability of wholesale electricity in New England.

Dominic LeBel, of Granite Apollo, has told the selectmen that a research firm will evaluate wetlands and wildlife and search for historic artifacts before the design is finalized.

Milford officials have long been frustrated in their attempts to find industrial or commercial buyers for the property, purchased by the town around 2000.

Last week selectmen had their first run-through of the draft warrant, and they plan to vote on it Jan. 7. The town’s Deliberative Session is on Saturday, Feb. 2 and with ballot voting on March 12.

Kathy Cleveland can be reached at 673-3100 or kcleveland@cabinet.com.