Camden to vote on solar power installation Aug. 15

By Susan Mustapich | Aug 09, 2017
Photo by: Susan Mustapich These solar panels installed by ReVision Energy are providing electricity to power municipal buildings in Lincolnville.

CAMDEN — At a special town meeting Aug. 15, Camden voters will be asked to approve a 20-year power purchase agreement with ReVision Energy for the installation of a solar energy array on town-owned land at Sagamore Farm, off of Route 1.

The meeting takes place at 6:30 p.m. in the Washington Street Conference Room.

The solar array will include approximately 360 solar panels, and will be located on about a half-acre of land along the northern edge of an open meadow on the 77-acre Sagamore Farm parcel. The 124-kilowatt solar installation will offset municipal power consumption, providing long-term cost savings, according to a statement issued by the Camden Energy and Sustainability Committee.

The proposed solar installation is estimated to produce 160,286 kilowatts of electricity annually, which amounts to about 2.5 percent of Camden's 2014 municipal electrical consumption. Sagamore Farm could support a much larger array in the future, according to the Energy Committee

Voters will also be asked to accept an easement over land owned by the estate of Parker S. Laite Sr., for vehicle and power transmission access.

There is no cost to the town for the installation of the solar array. Through the power purchase agreement, the town of Camden will purchase solar electricity from Revision at a slightly lower rate than would otherwise be paid to the electric company. After six years, the town has the option to buy the array for $191,567, approximately half of the original purchase price, or continue to purchase power from ReVision.

Installing the solar array in 2017 would allow the town to benefit from "net energy billing," which is the difference between the kilowatt hours used by a customer, and the kilowatt hours generated by that same customer. The Maine Public Utilities Commission is proposing changes to net energy billing, that in the future could reduce the benefits. The proposed changes grandfather full net energy benefits for 15 years for systems operating by Dec. 31, 2017.

If voters approve the installation Aug. 15, ReVision estimates that the solar array will be operating within 90 days.

The solar project was initially proposed by the Energy Committee. In December 2016, the Select Board agreed to enter into a contract with ReVision Energy, for a solar installation located on the field at Sagamore Farm. The electricity produced by the solar panels will be used to offset municipal energy costs.

ReVision Energy has installed solar arrays at Camden Hills Regional High School, and for the city of Belfast and the town of Lincolnville.

Courier Publications reporter Susan Mustapich can be reached at 236-8511 or by email at smustapich@villagesoup.com.

Comments (1)
Posted by: James Bowers | Aug 16, 2017 22:08

Was there a RFP for this project?



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