TODAY: Lincolnville celebrates town's solar power; summer solstice

Open house June 21, 4-6 p.m. at fire station
By Susan Mustapich | Jun 19, 2017
Courtesy of: Town of Lincolnville Lincolnville is hosting an open house on summer solstice, Wednesday, June 21, from 4 to 6 p.m. to celebrate its array of solar panels, which provides nearly all of the electricity needed to run the town office, town buildings and facilities.

LINCOLNVILLE — A celebration of Lincolnville's 43.4-kilowatt solar energy array will take place on summer solstice, Wednesday, June 21, from 4 to 6 p.m. at the fire station with live music, free ice cream "sun-daes" and a question and answer session.

A brief dedication will be held at 5:15 p.m.. The fire station is located near Lincolnville Center, at 470 Camden Road (Route 52).

Since Jan. 3, the solar array has generated clean, renewable power for the town. Last October, residents demonstrated overwhelming, unanimous support at a special town meeting to enter into an agreement with ReVision Energy for the installation and operation of a 140-panel solar electricity-generating system that meets approximately 90 percent or more of the town’s electricity requirements.

The solar panels are installed next fire station on a quarter-acre parcel of town-owned land. The 43.4-kilowatt system is expected to produce enough power to meet municipal needs. In past years, town buildings and facilities have consumed an average of 59,000 kW per year.

ReVision constructed, operates and owns the solar array. Through the power agreement Lincolnville is currently paying ReVision Energy 13 cents per kilowatt hour.

The town can purchase power from ReVision for up to 30 years under the power purchase agreement. The town also has the option to  buy the solar array from ReVision in 2023, the seventh year of operation, at which point it would own the energy produced.

The daily, monthly and year-to-date production of solar power can be viewed live on Lincolnville's solar log, which is run by ReVision Energy.

Environmental benefits are also depicted on the log, including how many barrels of oil and how many trees have been saved by the solar energy produced. The production of 8.67 tons of carbon dioxide has been avoided by use of solar to date. The log shows graphic illustrations of fun facts, such as how many miles an electric car can travel on 14.27 megawatts of energy. (The answer is 69,936 miles.)

The town's Energy Committee laid the groundwork for using renewable energy by reviewing the town's electricity usage and needs, and conducting energy audits of municipal buildings. In June 2016, the Energy Committee focused on using solar power to save money on municipal electricity bills, conducting a survey of 12 towns in Maine that use solar-generated power to learn more about their projects. Members of the Energy Committee include Cindy and Jim Dunham, Gary and Greta Gulezian, Bob Olson, Rich Smith, and Kathy and John Williams.

Lincolnville Community Library, which opened in 2014, also is powered by solar energy. Thirty solar panels on the roof generate all the electricity the library needs.

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

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