ATHOL — The situation has brightened for John Typadis and Sevag Khatchadourian, whose company’s proposal for a solar array in Athol was approved with conditions Wednesday in the third public hearing on the subject.
Athol Solar Holdings LLC got the green light from the Athol Board of Planning and Community Development to construct a net-metered array at 1006 Templeton Road, contingent on the installment of nine adjacent 10-foot sets of specific vegetation on the lot. Board member Aimee Hanson insisted on sets consisting of a holly tree, a dwarf Alberta spruce, Rhododendrons, white hydrangeas, zebra grass and yellow daylilies, in addition to black mulch.
Athol Solar Holdings LLC is the local project entity of Allston-based Oak Square Partners, which is made up of Typadis, Khatchadourian and a couple of outside investors.
Property abutter Michael Polixa said he thinks the mulch will invite termites, which he fears will harm his 200-year-old house. Hanson tried to reassure him.
“Because mulch is made for landscaping, you’re not going to have that problem,” she told him, encouraging him to ask landscapers or pest control specialists.
Typadis and Khatchadourian explained they want to start construction in March and finish by early May. Net-metering involves customers using the solar electricity from solar panels located in a designated spot and splitting the bill in order to save money. They said hosting the array will benefit Athol in the form of a yet-to-be-determined amount of tax revenue.
They also said they feel relieved by the board’s decision.
“We want to be good neighbors, respectful community members and we are pleased with the outcome and result (of Wednesday’s public hearing),” Typadis said.
He and Khatchadourian previously told the board the plan is to construct a 420-kilowatt, ground-mounted solar array with 1,241 solar panels, each 320-watt in power. The array would take up 1.7 acres of a 2.4-acre lot across from North Quabbin Commons, which hosts Market Basket and a handful of other businesses.
They have said the 6-by-11-foot panels will be aligned facing south. There would be no lighting and the only noise would be a “house fan level” of sound generated at the panel box.
Typadis and Khatchadourian said there will be no glare issues because the panels are designed to absorb sunlight and new traffic will be minimal, as the site is monitored for maintenance with a visit every two to three months. The panels won’t require formal cleaning because they will be washed with rainwater.