Milford Eyeing Plans for 120-Acre Solar Farm

Dec 7, 2018

 

Granite Apollo was co-founded in 2017 by Manchester entrepreneurs Chris Stewart and Jeremy Hitchcock.
Credit Flicker CC / https://flic.kr/p/drsrm8

The town of Milford is considering leasing 120 acres of town property to a Manchester-based solar energy company.

 

The company, Granite Apollo, has signed a letter of intent to build a solar farm on the Brox property, a former industrial site near Route 101 that used to produce gravel.

 

Milford Town Administrator Mark Bender says until now, it's been hard for the town to find anyone interested in the property since they bought it in 2000 for $1.4 million.

 

"The disadvantage from a development standpoint is that we don't have sewer infrastructure out there nor are the roads adequately developed," Bender says. "But for a solar project it's ideal."

 

Bender says the property abuts a wetland, and if the plan is approved, Granite Apollo and Milford would work with conservationists and government officials to protect wildlife.

 

"We're cognizant of some rare threatened and endangered species in that area. There are some spotted turtles and hog-nosed snakes - we've already told the solar developer about those."

 

The 20-megawatt project would be one of New Hampshire's largest. Granite Apollo says it would power about 5,000 homes, which Bender says would likely be in Connecticut or Massachusetts.

Bender says the tentative agreement is for Granite Apollo to pay Milford around $3.5 million for a 25-year lease.

 

Granite Apollo's cofounder Chris Stewart wrote in a statement to NHPR: "We feel that the Milford property is a good fit for this project because there is plenty of space to responsibly design a large scale solar project. We are looking forward to working closely with the Town and relevant state permitting agencies to develop. 

Granite Apollo is also in the process of developing solar farms in Hopkinton and Londonderry.

It plans to negotiate power purchase agreements for the power with the ISO-New England marketplace.

Residents in both Hopkinton and Milford will vote on whether to approve Granite Apollo's proposal at annual Town Meeting in March.