Hope solar gets green light from DEP

By Gabriel Blodgett | Nov 06, 2019
Photo by: Gabriel Blodgett Hope has received approval from the Maine DEP to build a solar array in True Park.

Hope — Hope is finally ready to start construction on the much discussed solar project. The Board of Selectmen held a special meeting Tuesday Nov. 5 at the Hope Corner Fire Station to sign a Power Purchase Agreement and Capital Equipment Lease with Hope Solar, LLC.

The meeting came after the Maine Department of Environmental Protection approved the town’s application to build the panels on protected freshwater wetlands in True Park. The approval, issued on Oct. 28, represented the final hurdle in what has been a yearlong effort by residents, town committees, and staff to see the town move toward greater sustainability.

According to Town Administrator Samantha Mank, the town signed a five-year PPA with Hope Solar, the LLC owned by resident Rick Bresnahan, that will give them the option to purchase the equipment in year six. The capital equipment lease is for the heat pumps that will be installed at the Town Office and both Fire Stations along with related equipment. The heat pumps are necessary to increase the energy usage in municipal buildings enough to make the array worthwhile.

The project has already received approval from the Board of Selectmen and Planning Board and Mank said the town has issued a building permit. They are now waiting for Central Maine Power to dig a trench from Route 105 to the site of the array in the southeast corner of the park.

ReVision Energy will be doing the installation but Mank said she is unsure when construction will begin.

She said, however, that the timing of the approval leaves open the possibility of getting the project done by the end of 2019, which would provide additional tax breaks to Hope Solar. If the project is completed in the next two months, Hope Solar would receive a 30 percent reduction in taxes whereas a 2020 completion date would lower that number to 26 percent.

The town has budgeted $9,600 for a reserve account to buy the array when the lease ends and plans to continue budgeting that amount through the course of the PPA.

At the Nov. 5 meeting, board member Thom Ingraham thanked Elsie and Cameron Pinchbeck for their role spearheading the solar campaign along with their father Chris Pinchbeck and the members of the Solar Committee. He also thanked Mank for her efforts working with a number of different parties throughout the process.

Mank thanked Gartley & Dorsky Civil Engineers for their thorough work preparing the application to the DEP.


Comments (1)
Posted by: Mary A McKeever | Nov 07, 2019 14:22

I hope I read this right. The power line will be hidden in a trench underground? This sure will eliminate constant line power failure due to blown down power lines exposed. Kudos!

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