by Mehr Sher
.......The stakes for the siting of solar farms are increasing given Maine’s statutory target of 80 percent clean energy by 2030 and a recent rapid increase in solar development often requiring the clearing of many acres......
Since 2018, available data show approved solar farms ranging from one to 926 acres, with the majority being within 20 to 45 acres. Of the permitted projects, 10 are described as being more than 100 acres.
But these figures are an undercount and based on incomplete data the BDN collected from the department, which did not include acreage information in its database for 51 out of 110 total sites approved between 2018 and 2022..................
It’s not yet known how many solar projects require cutting of trees, but it’s clear that many have. Based on the incomplete dataset, developers for 19 sites estimated they would need to clear a combined total of about 696 acres.
That total does not include the number of acres being cleared by what will be Maine’s largest solar farm. Longroad Energy’s Three Corners Project, which is under construction in Benton, Clinton and Unity Township, estimates it will need to clear 690 acres of vegetation and trees for its solar panels. The entire site is 926 acres.............