Bank Street Solar Farm
Designing for energy efficiency
he proposed Bank Street Solar Farm will be sited at a former sand and gravel pit in the village of Hope Valley in southern Rhode Island. The site encompasses XX acres. Landscape Elements LLC in conjunction with Walker Engineering Limited prepared landscape architectural plans as part of the planning board site review application.
The goals for the landscape architectural plan were:
- Compliance with Town of Hopkinton, RI planning and zoning guidelines
- Sufficient landscaping to screen abutting residential property owners as per town planning board.
- Plant selection that is drought tolerant, pest and disease resistant as well as deer resistant.
- Plantings that meet the requirements of the Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management’s Storm water Design Regulations.
The solar farm was being constructed on a site that includes abutting wetlands and abutting residential properties. The proposed development must also comply with the latest Rhode Island Storm Water Regulations Manual. Proposed plantings must meet the manual list of acceptable plant species. The manual also cites the requirements for vegetation to be used in bioswales and Qualifying Pervious Areas (QPA’s) which will help to manage the on-site storm water. Bioswales and QPA’s were vegetated with appropriate shrubs and wet meadow seed mixes. Based on RIDEM Freshwater wetland requirements, the abutting wetland areas were buffered with appropriate wetland shrub plantings.
Walker Engineering Limited provided the site layout for access roads and solar panels based on the client’s requirements and the required panel orientation for optimum solar receipt. Plantings had to be sited at a sufficient distance from the panels so as not to interfere with solar receipt. Plantings also could not grow to over a certain height at maturity. Shade tolerant seed mixes were also proposed for planting under the solar panel arrays.