MILFORD — A local environmental group is voicing opposition to the town’s proposal to construct a solar farm on property described as an ecological gem.
The Board of Selectmen recently signed a letter of intent with Granite Apollo, a solar energy company in Manchester, to develop a solar project up to 20 megawatts on the former Brox industrial property.
Voters will decide in March whether to lease about 120 acres of the town-owned land for the solar farm project.
Although some people believe this is a unique opportunity for the town, especially since it has struggled to find a developer for the site, the watchdog group Brox Environmental Citizens is strongly opposed.
“The best use for that land is conservation. We shouldn’t be looking at development for that site,” Suzanne Fournier, coordinator of Brox Environmental Citizens, said on Thursday.
Fournier stressed that the group is not opposed to the solar project, but does not believe that the 120-acre parcel located off Perry Road on both sides of Route 101 is appropriate for the proposed solar farm.
“I support alternative energy, but this is not a superfund site and this is not a landfill. This is a place that is full of characteristics and is considered an ecological gem full of wildlife,” she said.
Brox Environmental Citizens was first formed in 2012 to protect and preserve the nearby Heron Pond and its surrounding wetlands and wildlife, including endangered turtles that were previously discovered there.
The group fears that the proposed solar farm, similar to other projects designed to slow global warming and protect the overall environment, could have the opposite impact in Milford by potentially destroying the forest, wetlands and animals.
She said a campaign to stop the solar farm from being approved on the former Brox industrial property is in full swing.
Mark Bender, town administrator, said the proposal is a great opportunity for the town.
“We look forward to working closely with Granite Apollo to help make this project a model for large-scale, responsible clean energy development in New Hampshire,” Bender said in a statement last week.
The Milford solar farm, if approved by voters, would generate enough clean electricity to power about 5,000 homes, according to a release.
“The Milford solar project will generate clean, renewable power at competitive prices to help Granite Staters save money on their power bills,” Chris Stewart, founder of Granite Apollo, said in a statement. “Well sited utility scale solar is a key part of New England’s energy future, and we are excited to work with the town of Milford on this project.”
According to the release, the proposed solar farm, which will be named Milford Solar, will be designed to minimize environmental impacts on the property.