Target 12 on WPRI.com

West Greenwich residents, town leaders say solar company hasn’t followed through on claims

Target 12

WEST GREENWICH, R.I. (WPRI) – Neighbors of the Hopkins Hill solar farm in West Greenwich say the solar farm was sold to them as something they wouldn’t see or hear. But the final product is something they have to see every day.

Documents show Adam Beal, the executive vice president at Turning Point Energy, the company that developed the solar farm, told the town council in May 2018 that “an airplane would be necessary to see the solar facility.” Now the neighbors want town leaders to hold the solar company to those words.

“You can see it from an airplane,” neighbor Ray Goppold said in an interview with Target 12. “But you can also see it from Hopkins Hill Road, and you can see it from Henry Brown Road, and various surrounding properties.”

Part of the problem, according to the town administrator Kevin Breene: when the town council began considering TPE’s proposal in 2018, West Greenwich hadn’t yet drafted a solar ordinance with strict guidance.

But in July 2019, when the solar farm was still being built, the town filed a cease and desist notice against TPE, after trees in the buffer zone that were supposed to stay there were instead cut down.

(Story continues below)

Five months later, the town filed a stop work order for not complying with erosion control rules.

“Does it meet the standard of you can’t see it anywhere but an airplane?” Breene said. “No. Are we happy about that? No.”

Beal told Target 12 his airplane comment was taken out of context, and points out the town signed off after construction was completed.

He also said the company planted dozens of additional trees after the town asked it to.

“That vegetative buffering should provide adequate, opaque screening of the solar facility once it is partially or fully grown in,” Beal said.

Still, Goppold said he can now see the solar farm from his house during half the year.

(Story continues below)

Ultimately, he said, the town is responsible for making TPE, a Colorado-based company, follow through.

His neighbor Bruce Bullinger agreed, recalling the reasons he and his wife moved to their West Greenwich house 42 years ago.

“The forest, the woods, the quiet pace of life, animals running through your yard,” Bullinger said. “Now it looks like an industrial site. This is not what we moved here for.”

Tolly Taylor (ttaylor@wpri.com) is a Target 12 investigative reporter for WPRI 12. Connect with him on Twitter and on Facebook

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Providence

Watch 12 on 12: The Mafia Tapes - Only on WPRI.com
PINPOINT WEATHER // Quick Links:

Dan Yorke State of Mind

DYSOM 6/18/21021: Marc Genest

More Dan Yorke State of Mind

Don't Miss

Viewer Pa on WPRI.com

LIVE CAMS on WPRI.com

More Live Cams

Community Events & Happenings

More Community