FARMINGTON — Regional School Unit 9 could save more than $150,000 per year on energy costs if directors decide to join a solar energy aggregate at Souther Farm in Livermore Falls, according to Kurt Penney of ReVision Energy.

Kurt Penney of ReVision Energy explains how Regional School Unit 9 could save on energy costs by joining a solar power aggregate. Dee Menear/Franklin Journal

Penney said during a presentation to the board on Tuesday, Jan. 28, Regional School Unit 73 in Jay and Maine School Administrative District 28 in Camden were already on board with the project.

A new policy in Maine provides opportunities for municipalities and school districts to look at solar power, he said. Solar locations don’t need to be onsite, so long as they are within the same utility district.

“ReVision Energy is leasing a 20-acre parcel from Harold Souther to develop a solar ground mount system,” he said.

Permits from the Department of Environmental Protection and local municipality are in place.

“We are not talking about plugging a solar system into the building,” he said. “What we are talking about is having a remote solar system and being able to apply net energy credits to your bill.”

He said three things are needed for solar development: land to place the panels, investors and entities to assign the power to.

“Our investors can utilize federal tax credits and our services to develop solar projects,” he said. “What they can’t do is find someone to use the credits and we cannot sell it back to the utility. The new policy was designed so communities and school districts could take advantage of solar power. Here is an opportunity to save on electricity costs without spending any out of pocket money,” he said.

Primary meters at Academy Hill School in Wilton, Cape Cod Hill School in New Sharon and Cascade Brook School, W.G. Mallett School and Mt. Blue Campus in Farmington log approximately 3.6 million kWh a year.

That equals $550,000 in annual electrical costs, he said.

“In essence, this is like buying a CMP gift card at a discount,” he added.

The board will consider the proposal and a draft 20-year contract at its next meeting.

If the board moves forward with the proposal, savings would show up as soon as the project begins producing net energy credits, possibly by the end of the year.


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