Solar array plan aired in Greenfield

  • Keith Akerley discusses preliminary plans for a commercial solar array with the Greenfield Planning Board during its meeting in the town offices Monday. Staff photo by Ashley Saari

  • The roof of the American Steel building in Greenfield was floated as a possible site for a proposed commercial solar array that developers Ray Cilley and Keith Akerley discussed with the Greenfield Planning Board during its meeting in the town offices on Monday, March 28, 2016. (Ashley Saari / Monadnock Ledger-Transcript) Ashley Saari—Staff photo by Ashley Saari

  •  Planning Board Chair Paul Renaud and member Angelique Moon speak during a conceptual discussion of a proposed solar array in town during a Planning Board meeting in the town offices on Monday, March 28, 2016. (Ashley Saari / Monadnock Ledger-Transcript) Ashley Saari—Staff photo by Ashley Saari

Monadnock Ledger-Transcript
Published: 3/30/2016 7:06:50 PM

A commercial solar operation may be in the works for Greenfield.

Ray Cilley, co-owner of American Steel Properties with Mark Carter from Peterborough, and Keith Akerley, owner of KA Electric in Peterborough, met with the Greenfield Planning Board on Monday night to have a conceptual hearing to discuss the possibility of building a 100 kilowatt solar array in Greenfield. A conceptual hearing allows the board and the applicants to get a sense of a potential project and its issues before an official application is filed, and none of the board’s comments are considered binding orders at this point.

Cilley and Akerley told the board that they are considering at least two possible locations for the array – one on Old Bennington Road, just before the town line, on land currently owned by Cilley, or on top of Cilley’s American Steel building. 

The two first proposed the Old Bennington Road location. The land is currently empty, and in current use, said Cilley. It does not have the infrastructure currently to tie the array into the electrical grid, and that would have to be installed.

After discussion, the board found that because the land is in the rural-agricultural zone, and it would be going from empty to a commercial use, Cilley and Akerley would at least have to go through a site plan review process with the Planning Board, and possibly apply for a variance with the Zoning Board before they could put up an array in that field.

“It’s clear that this would be a commercial use, which is a change of use. It’s clear that a site plan review would be required,” said Selectman Bob Marshall. 

It will take some looking at, said Chair Paul Renaud, especially since Greenfield’s ordinance is mute on the point of solar panels and arrays. 

“It’s not a gray area – it’s unprecedented,” said Renaud. 

When Cilley asked about the possibility of putting the panels on top of his existing business, however, the board agreed that is likely a different story – one for the code enforcement officer and not for the town's regulating boards.

The board also had a discussion after Cilley raised the question about whether a state RSA that the town adopted in 2008 which exempts certain green-energy technologies from being added to property assessments and taxed applies to commercial developments. The board agreed that while the RSA did not seem to differentiate, that the question of tax enforcement is beyond the purview of the Planning or Zoning Boards and would have to be taken up by the Select Board. Marshall, the Select Board ex-officio to the Planning Board, told Cilley that he would raise the issue with the board at its next meeting.

Sign up for Monadnock Ledger-Transcript Newsletters
Monadnock Ledger-Transcript Headline Alerts
Monadnock Ledger-Transcript MLT Minute North
Monadnock Ledger-Transcript MLT Minute South
Monadnock Ledger-Transcript Real Estate & Transactions
Monadnock Ledger-Transcript Contests and Promotions
Monadnock Ledger-Transcript Dining & Entertainment
Monadnock Ledger-Transcript Sports


Support Local Journalism

Subscribe to the Monadnock Ledger-Transcript, your source for Peterborough area news.

Monadnock Ledger-Transcript

20 Grove St.
Peterborough, NH 03458


© 2021 Monadnock Ledger-Transcript
Terms & Conditions - Privacy Policy