King solar farm nears completion off Pound Hill Road

King solar farm nears completion off Pound Hill Road

Residents can sign up for community solar program

NORTH SMITHFIELD – The King solar farm, a 12.44-megawatt project currently under construction off Pound Hill Road, is nearing completion and should go online by the end of the year, Nautilus Solar Energy said this week.

Last fall, the New Jersey-based company broke ground on the project, which comprises two arrays of panels covering approximately 70 acres. DEPCOM Power oversaw a construction process that involved more than 100 local electricians.

The company said in a press release this week they expect to complete the bulk of the work by November and connect the farm to the energy grid before the end of the year.

“As a renewable energy generation resource, the North Smithfield community solar project provides the environmental equivalent of planting over 10,500 trees or taking over 1500 cars off the road for the year,” the company said in the release.

Last year, state and local officials gathered at the Pound Hill Road property to celebrate the groundbreaking of Rhode Island’s largest community solar project. Unlike some projects that sell energy directly to National Grid, the King project is part of a statewide community solar program that allows consumers to sign up for credits on their electricity bills. The program is designed to mimic the benefits of rooftop panels for those who might not be able to install solar on their homes.

“Projects like this, which simultaneously clean up our land and make our economy greener, are the future of our state,” Gov. Gina Raimondo said in the release. “I’m thrilled that more than 3,000 Rhode Island households will have the option to use clean energy and save money.”

Though the program is open to all Rhode Island residents, the North Smithfield Planning Board required the company to market the program to North Smithfield residents when it approved the project last year. More than 3,000 customers are expected to participate in the program.

Residents interested in learning more about participating in community solar through the King solar farm can visit the company’s website at www.nautilussolar.com/community-solar-access.

In addition to the community solar benefit, the project offered a resolution to a years-long debate over land access near Slatersville Reservoir. Landowners off Pound Hill Road have long accused the Holliston Sand Company and neighboring Brookside Equestrian Farm of blocking access to their properties by barricading an unmarked paper street in the area. Several of those property owners sold land to Turning Point Energy, the original company behind the project, a few years ago as the grounds of the new solar farm.

The farm is located approximately north and east of the Landfill Resource and Recovery Superfund site.