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McCormick's Farm Solar Project Public Meeting

Tuesday evening a joint public session of the Andover Village and Town boards convened at 6pm at the Community Center on East Greenwood. The public meeting was held to discuss the proposed solar farm on the McCormick property along Route 417.

In a riveting 8-minute long presentation a representative from CleanChoice Energy spoke about decentralizing the power grid and tax benefits to the community. He was followed by some other guy who said he was a civil engineer and environmental consultant. He talked about a feasibility study and protecting the wetlands and whatnot.

After the detailed presentation the meeting was opened up to questions. Overcoming his normal shyness Terri McCormick* took to the floor to discuss his family's legacy of farming and desire to pass on this legacy to future generations by "farming the sun." We'd say it was corny, but he's apparently getting out of the corn business.

Questions from the public revealed that the 1400 solar panels would take up 23 acres and stand 12ft tall. The panels will be barely noticeable on the main road into town as CleanChoice has planned a 7ft tall deer fence that will look super natural and totally aesthetic. It'll blend right in to the natural ambiance of the town. When asked to pin down plans for landscaping, the crowd of about a dozen was treated to a delightfully meandering monologue on ground cover and pollinator-friendly plantings. When pressed for something more definitive the CleanChoice representative said that they totally would do something with landscaping but hadn't nailed down any details yet.

One community member had concerns about the heat generated by the solar panels and the decommissioning process not being environmentally friendly to which a CleanChoice representative, after a brief exchange, closed with: "You're entitled to your opinion."

The contract for the solar farm will last from 25-40 years. CleanChoice will have a legal commitment to decommission and return the land to usable farmland at the end of the life of the solar panels if the owners of the land choose not to continue hosting solar panels.

When asked if this whole solar thing was a done deal the CleanChoice guy said a bunch of things that left things pretty ambiguous, but we think it is pending some paperwork. So a new solar farm is coming to town and Terry is pretty jazzed about it.

Overall I'd give the meeting a 7.5/10. Town board supervisor, Gus Webber, kept the meeting to 42 minutes. Several of Andover's coolest residents were in attendance including the Mayor. There were graphic displays and handouts, because who doesn't love a little paper waste when you're saving the environment with solar power. Overall a very fun meeting. I'm sorry if you missed it.

*I'm pretty sure that's totally how you spell Terri, maybe.

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1 Comment

Jim Ciriello
Jim Ciriello
Jul 16, 2023

Please, an array of PV panels should not be called a "farm". Rather, they are a "Solar Industrial Complex".

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