Issues on Solar farms began to surface in 2017
As early as October 2017, neighbors had voiced opposition to the installation of a 11.4 acre solar array off 147 Lumber Street which abuts the Charlesview Neighborhood. Shortly thereafter in June 2018, neighbors had voiced opposition to the installation of a solar array on 34 acres of land off Wilson Street. Due to court orders after an appeal by the company TJA Clean Energy, the Planning Board reluctantly voted to approve the project in 2019, in order to avoid any costly legal expenses borne by the town. Later in 2019 a 14.2 acre solar array at Wood Street/Mechanic Street was approved by the Planning Board.
Concerns grew again in 2020, with Seaboard Solar’s plan to acquire Liberty Mutual’s entire 68-acre parcel for installation of the solar arrays on a portion of the land. The project plan included plans to clear 27 acres of rich forest and habitat, which was a major area of concern for town residents and committee officials.
October 17, 2017 – Hopkinton: Solar panels spark debate • March 6, 2019 – Court sends denied solar permit back to Planning Board • March 20, 2019 – Despite court order, solar permit still in limbo • April 3, 2019 –Solar farm off Wilson Street approved • March 11, 2020 – Residents concerned about solar farm plan