Cranberry bog solar array approved by Rochester Planning Board

Sep 22, 2020

ROCHESTER — The Sun will provide energy to more than just cranberries at a bog in Rochester.

The Planning Board approved plans at a Sept. 22 meeting for a solar array that will go over a cranberry bog off of Pierce Street.

“That’s the first solar project I’m really looking forward to seeing happen,” Board Clerk Ben Bailey said. “It’s just so clever.”

Sarah Stearns from Beals and Thomas engineering and architecture firm appeared before the board on June 23 representing Peter Beaton, who owns the bog and much of the surrounding properties. 

He plans to improve the canals in his bog, while also adding solar panels in thin strips above the modified canals in a way that will not interfere with growth or harvesting in his bogs, but will provide a renewable energy source on the site. 

Stearns said that there would be no clearing on the site, and her client would not have to worry about screening the panels because the bog itself is almost invisible from Pierce Street.  

The environmental specialist said she had done a similar project that was “well-received in a different community,” and called it an “interesting way to combine agriculture with renewable energy.” 

Planning Board members skipped over an informal discussion about the Rochester Golf Club’s plans to install a solar array on top of its clubhouse. Board Chair Arnold Johnson said that the plans previously came before the board for an informal discussion and that the application can move ahead. 

Discussion will continue to the board’s Oct. 13 meeting for a development on Cranberry Highway. Johnson said the developers have more to discuss amongst themselves before coming to the board again.