BERNARDSTON — A solar farm could be at 32 Fox Hill Road by the end of the year if the town’s approval process goes smoothly.
The land is owned by the Grover family, who run a dairy farm. They are leasing it to the Clean Energy Collective, a company based in Colorado with offices in Worcester that builds and manages community solar farms.
“We were trying to figure out how we could sustain the farm to be able to continue on for the next 105 years,” said Rena Grover. (The farm is now 105 years old.) “This was the most sustainable way to keep the farm going.”
Solar panels will cover about 23 acres of the 32-acre farm, said Chris Rodstrom, a co-owner of the Clean Energy Collective. As a community solar farm, residents and local businesses will be able to subscribe to the energy generated from the farm and its tax credits, “to essentially be shareholders in the solar energy,” Rodstrom said.
Rodstrom said that planners from the Clean Energy Collective have talked to the neighbors of the farmland and have adjusted their designs to accommodate nearby homes.
“We’ve been working pretty hard to try to present a plan that we think is a good balance for providing a lot of clean energy but also not impacting the town,” Rodstrom said. “I think it’s actually a pretty good fit for what we’re proposing and what the site can accommodate.”
On Tuesday the Conservation Commission opened its public hearing on the project, which it will resume August 7. The Planning Board will hold its public hearing August 2, although Chairwoman Chris Wysk said that the board probably won’t come to a decision then.
Rodstrom said construction of the solar farm will take “a few months.”