Details emerged late last week about the solar farm planned for Camp Good News in Forestdale.
Grace Russell, of Mississauga, Ontario-based Grasshopper Energy, said in an email after press time last Thursday evening, February 20, that the project represents a 20-year agreement with Camp Good News.
The camp occupies 214 acres of woods off Route 130 and a half-mile of shoreline along Snake Pond.
The 5-megawatt solar photovoltaic project will produce an annual average of 9.74 GWh—or gigawatt hours—of energy annually, Ms. Russell said. By contrast, burning an equivalent amount of fossil fuel would produce 7,250 tons of carbon dioxide.
“The project will directly increase the resiliency of energy generation by providing non-fossil fuel energy and a significant long-term reduction in [the] carbon footprint,” Ms. Russell said. “The development, construction and operation of the project will generate employment for locals and business for regional businesses.”
Ms. Russell, the company’s director of commercial and industrial development, said Grasshopper is working with local and state regulatory officials to bring the project to Sandwich.
“The project is expected to start construction in early 2021, pending approvals and permitting with the local and state agencies,” Ms. Russell said. “Grasshopper Energy LLC is taking steps to ensure compliance with all local and state laws to ensure the community and environment [are] protected.”
Grasshopper is the second large Canadian energy company to express interest building a solar farm in Sandwich in the last few months. Amp Energy, also of Mississauga, Ontario—but not affiliated with Grasshopper, according to Ms. Russell—has proposed an 18-acre solar array off Cotuit Road.
The Cape Cod Commission is also expected to weigh in on the Grasshopper project.
The Massachusetts Historical Commission is interested in conducting an archaeological survey of the Camp Good News parcel, according to a letter sent to the Sandwich Historical Commission earlier this month.
State historical commission staff, however, have declined to discuss the survey. The Secretary of State’s office has said no details can be released because such surveys are confidential and not open to the public.
“The project area is archaeologically sensitive for ancient and historical period Native American archaeological resources,” the state historical commission said in its letter to the Sandwich historical commission. “The archaeological sensitivity is in part based on the ancient and historical period land use and occupational history of Wampanoag people in this region, as well as the results of previous investigations nearby in environmental settings similar to the project area that identified important cultural resources.”
The letter goes on to say that the state historical commission “recommends that an intensive archaeological survey… be conducted for the project.”
Ms. Russell said Grasshopper Energy has been contacted by the state historical commission and is prepared to assist with the hunt for historical artifacts.
“Grasshopper Energy is taking steps to ensure compliance with the process and involve the local stakeholders in the process,” Ms. Russell said.
She added that local contractors and engineers would be hired to design and build the solar farm.
Grasshopper Energy “operates as a green energy services company…[that] connects homeowners, businesses, institutions, and industrial facilities to money in grants, rebates, and other incentives for energy efficiency upgrades, as well as provides turnkey solar power systems for both rooftops and land,” according to an industry website.
Camp Good News was founded in 1935 by former Navy chaplain W. Wyeth and his wife, Grace Willard, according to the camp’s website.
“Though the camp was founded and is led by a Christian staff, campers come from a wide variety of religious, socioeconomic, and non-religious backgrounds. The Christian faith, as expressed in the Apostles Creed, is presented in an open, interdenominational setting,” the camp’s website says. “Camp Good News endeavors to help young people discover the relevance of the Bible in our culture and assist them in exploring the awesome meaning and direction for living.”