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By Rhonda Miller
PBN Staff Writer
WOONSOCKET - A solar energy project is in the formative stages on North Smithfield land where a mill once combed and scoured wool, according to Smed Blair, vice president of real estate and development for Sam-Man Realty, which owns the land.
“This project is a solar farm that would be installed on 4.7 acres,” Blair said. “We’re using old industrial land. They used to railroad in the raw wool.”
Sam-Man Realty has signed a 15-year lease with Next Sun Energy, the solar operator for the project, Blair said.
“It’s part of an energy initiative where National Grid is required to buy back a certain amount of renewable energy,” Blair said.
“This is a very good use of this land. We can’t build on it. It’s too close to the river. And these solar farms are non-invasive. The solar panels are mounted on racks,” Blair said. “And it’s in close proximity to the power lines.”
The proposed 1.1 megawatt solar project still has to obtain approvals, so there is no target date set for installation or operation, Blair said. The land is on Great Road in North Smithfield.