North Adams Transcript
ADAMS -- Conservation Commission members are amicable to a proposed West Road solar array that could power "thousands of homes."
Seth Ginsberg, president of Apis Energy Group, based in Alford, said the 83-acre site at 219 West Road has been verified by engineers to be viable for a solar development that could have an output of as much as 2 to 3 megawatts.
In an interview Friday, Ginsberg said after a year of contact with town officials and residents, "folks in the town seem really open to it."
"Our objective with projects in Western Massachusetts right now is to create some utility-scale facilities where the offtakers will be a number of municipalities," Ginsberg said. "[Residents will] see a significant decrease in their cost of power."
For the West Road site, Ginsberg prefers a setup where photovoltaic panels are mounted on removable posts. These panels could be replaced or removed after their 25-year life.
Ginsberg is unsure whether the deal would include an outright purchase of the land or a lease from the property owner, David Krutiak. A dilapidated farmhouse at the site would be slated for demolition, and the array fenced for security, Ginsberg said.
Ginsberg explained at last Thursday’s meeting of the Conservation Commission that the entire site would not be developed, but "broken into sections" appropriate for panels. He said the company would "work within the confines"
According to Apis’ website, the business seeks to develop over 10 megawatts of utility-scale solar facilities in the Berkshires. Their goal, if achieved, would power 20 percent of the county’s homes, while offsetting 9,000 tons of carbon dioxide emissions. The site says this impact is the equivalent of planting over 45,000 trees. Ginsberg founded Apis Energy Group in 2010.
In terms of time, Ginsberg said solar developments in the commonwealth are currently at National Grid’s authority. He said the company would like to be through the municipal planning process, including gaining approval from the Planning and Zoning boards, by the end of 2012.
"[Solar development] applications are cueing up and we’re trying to work our way through the system," Ginsberg said at the Thursday meeting.
Ginsberg is a Fairfield University alumni with more than 25 years experience in construction and development and experience in renewable and green energy developments. The company has most recently worked in Pittsfield, Hancock, West Stockbridge and also outside the county.
To reach Phil Demers, email