Tobey Road solar array now under construction

Eversource plans to finish by Dec. 15
By Matthew Bernat | Sep 19, 2017
Photo by: Matthew Bernat Eversource is currently building a solar facility that will be capable of generating 5 megawatts of power on Tobey Road.

Construction is underway on a large solar array on Tobey Road that seemingly popped up overnight because no public hearings were necessary for its approval.

Electricity provider Eversource owns the 16-acre, industrially-zoned site located across the street from Wareham Crossing. The company plans to install 12,000 solar panels, said Eversource spokeswoman Priscilla Ress.

Construction began this summer on the mostly vacant lot that had been hidden from view by a line of trees. In total, a little less than 8 acres of land had to be cleared, said Wareham’s Building Commissioner David Riquinha.

On Tuesday, Riquinha provided Selectmen an update on the project, saying his department approved building permits for the project.

Riquinha explained that a solar array in that spot is allowed “as of right” under local zoning bylaws. Developers meeting that requirement don’t need approval from either the Planning Board or Zoning Board of Appeals. That process would include public notice and a public hearing allowing residents to air concerns or ask questions.

Selectmen Chair Peter Teitelbaum said board members had received several questions regarding the project. Many asked if Eversource followed the proper channels before construction, he said.

“Eversource went to the building commissioner and because it was an allowed use, no notice was required,” said Teitelbaum.

Riquinha said his department negotiated with Eversource to build an earthen wall near the road complete with landscaping in order to shield the project from view. He noted that Eversource agreed to the town’s terms despite there being no requirement to do so.

“I hope people understand that they’re actually going beyond their obligation to mitigate the view once the project is completed,” said Teitelbaum.

Selectmen also approved a $418,363, one-year performance bond for the project on Tuesday. The bond is required in the event the developer fails to complete the project.

The project arrives after Eversource received state approval last year to build solar energy arrays capable of producing up to 62 megawatts of energy across Massachusetts, said Ress.

That push is in line with the company’s commitment to renewable energy, she said.

“Our owning and operating large-scale universal solar plants helps the Commonwealth meet its renewable energy goals and helps reduce carbon emissions, at a much lower cost to customers than smaller private facilities,” said Ress. “Our universal solar plants benefit our customers with more affordable renewable energy.”


Comments (5)
Posted by: Wareham By The Sea | Sep 19, 2017 23:45

Well now, in a previous comment, I did state that solar energy is good yet solar arrays are ugly.  I then stated that developers should be encouraged to go after land that's not prime and not visible.  I still feel that way but this case is different. Eversource already owns the property and they needed no special permission to build an array there. Good for them and too bad to those that don't like it.  It's their land.

Posted by: Spherebreaker | Sep 20, 2017 07:34

It is their land but where their sense of community partnership? That was lacking in every way. They have done a disservice to the Town and I will not be a part of it. I am transferring over to another provider of my electric power. I also feel for the turtles that will be affected by the increase in ambient air temperatures in that area.

Posted by: Wareham By The Sea | Sep 20, 2017 08:33

Sound like the earthen wall and landscaping will make this not nearly as offensive as it is being made out to be.  Heck, I can think of a lot of things in town that could use an earthen wall and some landscaping!

Posted by: Uptohere | Sep 20, 2017 13:51

I am beyond disgusted with the so called town administration and this atrocity being created on our bust street. I will never back these people again and if you think there will be any change in your bills then you don't remember how expensive they were when seamas was built.

Posted by: Andrea Smith | Sep 20, 2017 14:17

For those who wonder what an earthen wall might look like, I found lots of pictures and a huge variety of earthen walls by doing a "Bing" search for "earthen walls." Below is a link to one photo  site that I located through the search.

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