Solar Array on Track in Oak Bluffs

Vineyard Gazette | Aaron Wilson
May 4, 2020

The Oak Bluffs planning board completed a site plan review last week for a large-scale solar array planned for the capped landfill behind the transfer station.

The project calls for building 3,535 solar panels on five acres of land, with the ability to generate 1.32 megawatts of electricity.

The project is expected to save the town $130,000 in annual electricity costs.

“We have a 20-year lifespan on this project, that’s about $2.6 million. It’s got a very strong financial benefit in addition to the environmental benefit, so I look at it as a real win-win for the town and we’re excited to be doing it,” town administrator Robert Whritenour told the Gazette by phone.

The developer for the project is Greenskies Renewable Energy LLC. Greenskies will own and maintain the solar panels, and receive half the profits from the energy produced by the array. The town will retain ownership of the land. Greenskies has also developed similar solar arrays in Tisbury and West Tisbury.

At the meeting last week, planning board chairman Ewell Hopkins said the Martha’s Vineyard Commission had decided not to review the project as a development of regional impact. Mr. Hopkins also said the Federal Aviation Administration determined that a glare study of the proposed array would not be necessary.

The planning board decided not to conduct a viewshed analysis. The top of the array will likely be visible from Beach Road, about halfway between Bend in the Road beach and the second bridge.

The project now goes to the town zoning board of appeals for review.