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Plan for solar array to help power town, school buildings moving forward

The town is moving forward with plans for a solar array on town property to provide energy for town and school buildings.

Solar Array schematic
Click image to download Energy Committee report to the Town Council

The Town Council on Oct. 16, 2019 gave the Energy Committee the go-ahead to request proposals for a solar array to be built on the capped landfill next to the transfer station.

The proposal to install the solar array was one item councilors discussed with members of the newly formed Energy Committee at a workshop Oct. 2.

"This is really exciting in my view and is the result of some really great volunteered expert time and talent," Town Council Chair Jamie Garvin said of the committee's work. One of the Town Council's ongoing goals for the last few years has been to support a sustainable community.

Under the proposal, the successful bidder would design and build a photovoltaic project on the capped landfill, providing all financing and operating the site for up to 20 years. The town would provide the site, grant necessary permits, and purchase power from the developer under a 20-year Power Purchase Agreement. The town would receive a credit from Central Maine Power for power generated.

The town is also looking to take advantage of federal and state programs and incentives for supplying alternative energy to town and school buildings.

"Each 500 kilowatts of town solar can save the town $10-$30,000 per year in electric bills with no upfront costs," according the the Energy Committee's proposal.

The Energy Committee will review proposals received and recommend a developer to the council.

In related news, the council on Oct. 16 voted to appoint John Voltz to an unexpired term on the Energy Committee to expire Dec. 31, 2020.