SOUTHINGTON — A Hartford-based solar energy developer is seeking state approval to build a solar farm on more than 100 acres owned by the Archdiocese of Hartford.
Verogy, the developer, is hoping to install solar panels on 31 acres of the vacant field at 1012 East St.
Developers say local approvals are not needed, but plan to bring the proposal before the town's Planning and Zoning and Inland Wetland/Conservation commissions. Developers are also seeking feedback from residents and businesses near the site.
The parcel is an ideal location for a solar farm because it consists of mostly open flat land that would require little clearing of vegetation, according to Verogy.
Bryan Fitzgerald, Verogy's director of development, said the parcel offers “good southern exposure.”
“It's also close to electrical infrastructure,” Fitzgerald said. “That is important.”
Connecticut state law stipulates the project must receive approval from the Connecticut Siting Council. Developers would also need to obtain a stormwater discharge permit from the state Department of Energy and Environmental Protection.
Robert A. Phillips, town director of Planning and Community Development, has been contacted by Verogy.
Because the Connecticut Siting Council has statutory authority, the plan won't be decided by local municipal boards, Phillips explained.
“All we can do is gather any input we receive from the public and pass that along as information to the Siting Council,” Phillips said.
Verogy has dubbed the project “Southington Solar One.” According to a timeline, developers were to have completed an environmental study by last month. The timeline lists the submission of an application to the Siting Council as a target for this month. The council is expected to make a decision by September.
If approvals are granted, construction would start by November and finish in April 2021.
According to Verogy's website, the firm's core business is “developing, financing, constructing, managing, and operating solar projects.”
Details on the project can be found at https://www.verogy.com/southington-solar-one/.
Town property records list the Catholic Cemeteries Association, affiliated with the Archdiocese of Hartford, as owner of the parcel. The archdiocese acquired the property in 1981. Property records don't list a sale price, but show that the property was most recently appraised at more than $1.4 million.
Archdiocese of Hartford officials could not be reached for comment.