Planning Board Approves Solar Facility at Former CGA Site

This plan of the approved CGA Solar facility details where the snowmobile trail will be rerouted. The existing parts of the trail in red will be replaced with the new sections in purple. The dark diagonal lines are the solar arrays.

On March 3, the Planning Board approved a new solar power facility on three parcels of land at 229 New Dam Road. One parcel is the former CGA site, which was taken by the City of Sanford in 2010 for back taxes. The other two parcels are owned by the Maine Turnpike Authority.

The CGA property is what’s known as a brownfields site – a former industrial property that was contaminated and then abandoned – and is in the process of being cleaned up with federal grant money. The Maine Department of Environmental Protection removed over 3,000 tons of circuit board waste from the site in 2018, and the building has been demolished, but significant debris, trash and contamination remain.

Construction on the solar project is expected to begin in October, after cleanup is completed, and be finished in May 2022.

The company building the solar facility is CGA Solar LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Walden Renewables Development LLC. The Project will deliver approximately 5.0 megawatts of clean, low impact renewable energy to the local power grid through the existing Central Maine Power owned electrical infrastructure on New Dam Road.

The Project is expected to occupy a total of 45.2 acres, including solar arrays, maintenance access roads, inverter pads, and incidental equipment associated with the electrical interconnection. 39 acres of trees will be cleared, and replaced with meadow grasses. There will be fencing around the arrays and other equipment, which small mammals and birds will be able to pass through.

One of the Turnpike properties includes an existing snowmobile trail. CGA Solar is working with the snowmobile club to reroute the trail around the solar panels. See plan for details.

The Project will provide local benefits, through an increased tax base, lease payments to the City of Sanford and the Maine Turnpike Authority, and the creation of job opportunities.

In other business, the Planning Board approved a new private way off Route 4, just south of the intersection with High St., to be named Poliquin Way.

This image from Google street view shows part of the former CGA Inc. building, which has since been demolished.