If everything works out right, in about a year, work could begin on a solar energy farm at the bottom of what is now a working gravel pit.

The Berkshire Eagle reports during a hearing of the Zoning Board of Appeals this week, several board members and one neighbor of the site praised the project, referring to it as potentially a "big improvement."

Neighbors abutting the Grove Street gravel pit, owned by John Duquette Jr., have raised concerns recently about noise and dust from the operation. The 5-megawatt solar farm would be spread over 22 acres.

When the solar installation is finished, there would be very little traffic or noise at the site other than a monthly monitoring visit by a technician or two in a pickup truck, according to a presentation to the board given by Daniel Lovett, civil engineer with Dalton-based Hill Engineers, Architects, Planners and Patrick Jackson, a principal in the New Hampshire-based solar firm Sun Raise Development.

The board unanimously approved a site variance and a special permit to allow the project to proceed.

The project will advance to the Planning Board in January for further clearances.

Patrick Jackson, a principal in the New Hampshire-based solar firm Sun Raise Development declined to disclose the financial elements of the project.