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Alternative Energy Committee calls for two new solar projects

Click play button to view Alternative Energy Committee presentation to the Town Council Feb. 15

The Alternative Energy Committee is recommending two new solar projects to be added to the town's existing solar-energy systems.

One of the projects would heat and provide pump power to the Richards Pool; the other calls for a large-scale solar array on town land.

"I want to stress that these two projects will save significant expenditures on fuel and electricity with a short payback and low risk," said Julia Bassett Schwerin, representing the ad hoc committee, in a presentation to the Town Council on Feb. 15, 2017.

The council will review the recommendations in more detail at a workshop Feb. 28.

The committee, established in 2016 to explore alternative-energy opportunities for town and school buildings and vehicles, is recommending solar because it's an established industry in Maine, offers a high yield at relatively low risk, and fits with systems already working in Cape Elizabeth.

"We found that the town already had two arrays of solar thermal for hot water that were installed and are working very well, and you can find them on top of our schools on the campus," Schwerin said. "It's really a growing activity in our town," she said.

Councilors thanked members of the committee, all experts in various facets of alternative energy. Part of the committee's recommendation is to make Alternative Energy a standing committee, not only to oversee the projects to but to involve the schools and townspeople in education on the importance of alternative energy.

Acting on the Alternative Energy Committee's report is one of the council's goals for 2017, part of several goals geared toward sustainability.