A massive solar project in Simsbury, Connecticut is now one step closer to becoming one of New England’s largest clean-energy projects.
The “Tobacco Valley Solar Farm” cleared a key regulatory hurdle this week.
The Connecticut Siting Council, with one abstention, unanimously approved the roughly 26 megawatt solar project -- which will be built on five parcels in Simsbury.
All told -- the solar project will occupy about 290 acres of space -- creating enough energy to annually power about 5,000 homes.
Deepwater Wind, the company behind the project, has said it will be New England’s largest solar project, in terms of installed capacity.
But residents and town officials raised concerns with how the project was sited, saying in filings to the Siting Council, it would compromise a “classic New England rural landscape” and hamper farming opportunities on parcels it said are “well suited for agriculture.”
The state Department of Agriculture also formally opposed the project.
But with the Siting Council’s unanimous vote now in hand -- construction of the solar array is closer to full regulatory approval.
A spokesperson for Deepwater Wind says it hopes to get shovels in the ground in 2018.
This report comes from the New England News Collaborative: Eight public media companies, including Rhode Island Public Radio, coming together to tell the story of a changing region, with support from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.