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Site Evaluation Committee Holds First Hearing On Fitzwilliam Solar Array

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An application to build what could be New Hampshire's largest solar array cleared its first step at a public meeting Tuesday with the state's Site Evaluation Committee.

Committee members unanimously voted that NextEra Energy’s application was complete.

The 30 megawatt solar array in Fitzwilliam could be the state’s largest and is the first solar proposal to come before the SEC.

NextEra had requested a waiver for on certain decommissioning requirements of the solar array.  But the committee unanimously voted to defer ruling on that request until later in the process.

"Well, we're happy to reach this important milestone and we look forward to continuing to work with all the stakeholders as we progress through this process,” said Heath Barefoot, a project manager with NextEra.

The energy produced at the Chinook Solar Project will satisfy the Three State Clean Energy Request For Proposals. Massachusetts, Rhode Island and Connecticut have a 20-year power purchase agreement with the company.

At a public forum in July, Fitzwilliam residents expressed concerns about potential noise and environmental impacts, since there are wetlands near the proposed site.

No residents attended the public meeting on Tuesday. But once the committee issues its order on completeness, there will be a public information session with 45 days. Within 90 days, the committee will hold a public hearing.

Daniela is an editor in NHPR's newsroom. She leads NHPR's Spanish language news initiative, ¿Qué Hay de Nuevo, New Hampshire? and the station's climate change reporting project, By Degrees. You can email her at
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