WINSLOW — An appeals board this week unanimously affirmed the Planning Board’s earlier approval of two large-scale solar projects that had drawn criticism from abutters.

One installation will be a 4.1-megawatt solar array on 28 acres off Cushman Road that is expected to generate enough energy to power approximately 1,050 homes. The other installation will be a 6.5-megawatt array that will cover nearly 20 acres on a 50-acre parcel near Roderick Road.

Summit Ridge Energy is installing the Cushman Road solar array. The electricity produced will be fed back into the power grid managed by Central Maine Power Co. and sold to a large Maine business.

Greg Robie, who has land adjacent to the Cushman Road project, expressed concern Wednesday to the town’s Zoning Board of Appeals that the developer’s decommissioning plan would not be sufficient to ensure cleanup of equipment after the life span of the solar array concludes. He cited clauses in the Maine Department of Environmental Protection’s requirements that may allow a developer to escape responsibility for cleaning up a solar project after it stops generating power.

“I think you have not been properly advised by counsel, and I would ask that you consider getting a second opinion,” Robie said.

Town Attorney Bill Lee explained that the state’s decommissioning plan is more stringent than Winslow’s and supersedes it. The state requires a bond to be purchased for the full amount of decommissioning upfront, whereas Winslow’s solar ordinance allows the bond to be purchased in phases over time.


“In essence, it’s a guarantee that if the developer failed, the bonding company would step in and pay the necessary decommissioning cost,” Lee said.

The estimated cost of the bond for the Cushman Road project is between $500,000 and $600,000, Lee said.

The Zoning Board of Appeals deemed the decommissioning requirements sufficient and voted to uphold the Planning Board’s decision to grant a permit for the project.

Tony Bernard, an abutter to the Roderick Road solar project, expressed several concerns to the appeals board, including that there’s a lack of sufficient screening and buffer zone, lack of proper notice to abutters, lack of proper notice for a public hearing and submission of written comments, and the potential for nearby properties to lose value.

The board determined that the project has met all town requirements and it voted to again affirm the Planning Board’s decision to approve.

Construction on the Roderick Road project is expected to begin in May and the array should start generating power by October.

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