Boston company proposes building a solar farm in East Providence waterfront district

Start of “The Residences at Bold Point” construction nears

By Mike Rego
Posted 2/5/20

EAST PROVIDENCE — A Boston-based renewables company will soon approach the East Providence Waterfront District Commission with a proposal to convert a vacant Dexter Avenue parcel into a solar …

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Boston company proposes building a solar farm in East Providence waterfront district

Start of “The Residences at Bold Point” construction nears

Posted

EAST PROVIDENCE — A Boston-based renewables company will soon approach the East Providence Waterfront District Commission with a proposal to convert a vacant Dexter Avenue parcel into a solar farm.

Kearsarge Energy, doing business as Kearsarge Solar LLC, is seeking to install what is referred to on the Commission’s Thursday, Feb. 20, meeting agenda as a 2,807 kilowatt direct current solar array system on a 9.3-acre site, which sits across from the Aspen Aerogels plant and next to the former Pond View operation.

Also from the agenda, power generated from the farm would be conveyed to National Grid’s electrical distribution system on Dexter Road. The site is located north and south of an active Genesee & Wyoming Railroad line. Construction of the solar farm would require clearing vegetation and demolition of an 18,648 square foot two-story brick building.

According to Waterfront Commission Chairman Bill Fazioli, the land was last used by the Sani-Can portable restroom and septic service company as a storage facility for its clean port-a-potties.

Mr. Fazioli, speaking in his role as Commission chair and not as the city’s Planning Director, said the site has some existing “contamination issues” caused by leaked vehicle fuel over the years. He added the land “is not developable in its current state.”

Mr. Fazioli said at the moment it is his understanding Kearsarge could potentially take ownership of the land from its proprietor, Arpad J. Merva Revocable Living Trust, with a plan to eventually remediate the property and develop it for commercial use some time in the future.

The solar farm would be the second in East Providence, joining the public-private partnership between the city, CME Energy and Hecate Energy at the Forbes Street landfill. That project, done in two stages, includes a solar farm capable of generating some six megawatts of power.

The Commission will hear further details on the Kearsarge proposal at its February 20 meeting in Room 306 of City Hall at 6:30 p.m.

Bold Point development
Of note as well in the waterfront district, Mr. Fazioli said all the permitting is in place and the developer of the planned “The Residences at Bold Point” is readying the start of construction by late winter/early spring.

PKL Ventures LLC is set to transform the single story building located at 30 Veterans Memorial Parkway, which last housed the classic car vendor “Hot Rides Auto Sales,” into a two-story edifice fitted with 22 residential units. The property sits at the corner of the Parkway at its intersection with Mauran Avenue with the on-ramp to Interstate 195 in between it and access to the Bold Point area of the waterfront.

Eighteen of the 22 units will have one-bedroom, the four others will be two-bedroom. The one and two-bedroom units will range in size from 678 to 981 square feet, respectively.

More waterfront notes
The Narragansett Bay Commission recently paid $4,550,000 for land along Nassau Street in city and neighboring Pawtucket. The seller was School St. Warehouse LLC. Mr. Fazioli said the bulk of the property was actually in Pawtucket with only a small portion located in city.

The transaction was part of the NBC’s on-going combined sewer overflow (CSO) project at Bucklin Point, which is entering its third phase. It includes the building of tunnels and underground tanks to treat water and prevent untreated sewage from entering into the bay.

Lastly, demolition of the former Fuji Film processing plant at Dexter Street and Massasoit Avenue continues, according to Mr. Fazioli, who said the company has told the Commission it expects site readiness of the land to be completed this calendar year with eye towards making it available for commercial redevelopment in either late 2020 or some time in 2021.

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Mike Rego

Mike Rego has worked at East Bay Newspapers since 2001, helping the company launch The Westport Shorelines. He soon after became a Sports Editor, spending the next 10-plus years in that role before taking over as editor of The East Providence Post in February of 2012. To contact Mike about The Post or to submit information, suggest story ideas or photo opportunities, etc. in East Providence, email mrego@eastbaymediagroup.com.