Recent approval of CT’s largest solar project revives old tensions

The Gravel Pit Solar will sit on 485 acres of land that includes former sand and gravel pits and tobacco fields, according to Meaghan Wims, a spokeswoman for D.E. Shaw Renewable Investments, the New York-based company behind the project. The project was approved on March 1. Construction of the solar farm, which is adjacent to a landfill, industrial buildings, other gravel pits and two smaller solar projects, is expected to start as early as next summer, Wims said, with solar panel installations likely to begin in spring 2022. Gravel Pit Solar will begin producing 120 megawatts of power in late 2022. Depending upon who you talk to, the state is either moving ahead too fast or too slow in permitting solar projects. State Senator Norman Needleman, D-Essex, a co-chairman of the General Assembly’s Energy and Technology committee, said “there has always been a very dynamic tension between the environmental and agricultural communities over this.”

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