March 2, 2021 by Carol Britton Meyer
Hingham Municipal Lighting Plant plans to install a 396,000-watt solar array consisting of 1,188 solar panels on two acres of land atop the Hobart Street capped landfill following Planning Board approval Monday night.
The light plant has licensed Omni Navitas Holdings LLC to be the owner and operator. The power generated from the facility will be sold to HMLP through a long-term contract, thereby helping the light plant achieve its clean power objectives, according to HMLP officials. The array is projected to produce 500,000 kwh of electricity -- enough to power about 50 homes.
Planning Board member Gordon Carr noted that neighborhood concerns related to potential noise and other issues have been addressed.
The Planning Board will conduct a look-back on the project within 12 months of completion -- or earlier if necessary -- to review the operation and to ensure that any visual, noise, or other impacts are addressed. No landscaping is associated with the project, as capped landfills are required to be free of all vegetation other than grass.
The panels will be installed on a steel-framed concrete ballasted racking system, with a fence around the perimeter of the array to minimize visual impacts.
The construction is expected to start around the second quarter of 2021 and take between six to eight weeks, with the staging area located in a portion of the compost portion of the landfill.
Omni is required to coordinate with the DPW prior to the start of construction to ensure there will be no interference with the operation of the transfer station and to submit a construction schedule. The number of on-site workers will range from five to 12 per day for the duration of the project.
Approval is contingent on a Post Closing Use Permit from the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection. An application has been submitted and is currently under review. This process is for the purpose of evaluating the impact of the array on the landfill cap to ensure it does not adversely impact site drainage.
Monitoring of the system operation and performance will be done remotely, with minimal maintenance required. An erosion control and management and emergency response plans will be in place.
An intragovernmental license agreement between HMLP and the Board of Selectmen has already been accomplished.