Regional School Unit 73 Board of Director Chairman Robert Staples speaks at the ReVision Energy ribbon cutting for the solar project at the Harold Souther farm in Livermore Falls Saturday, March 26. Submitted photo

LIVERMORE FALLS — Regional School Units 9 and 73 are among five Maine school districts that are reducing their carbon footprint through purchase power agreements with ReVision Energy’s solar farm on the Harold Souther property. 

A ribbon cutting was held there Saturday, March 26.

“Thank you to ReVision Energy for reaching out to RSU #73 to ask us to be part of the energy savings associated with this solar array,” Board Chairman Robert Staples said. “We are proud to begin working toward becoming carbon neutral. We are also proud to show our taxpayers that we are trying to be fiscally responsible as we will be saving taxpayer dollars for years to come.”

Staples thanked Harold Souther and the Souther family for suggesting ReVision contact RSU 73 about the project and potentially saving energy costs.

“I’ve known Harold for many years,” he said. “Long enough to know that he doesn’t give up good farmland unless there is a really good reason. Harold, I believe that this is one one those good reasons!

“We are extremely happy that this array is in our own backyard,” Staples noted. “This will give many educational opportunities for our students to learn about solar energy. Hopefully this will also develop interests in some of them to lead them toward a career path in solar power.”


Staples also thanked the RSU 73 school board for their foresight “in voting to be part of this exciting, educational and money saving project.”

Tina Meserve with ReVision Energy escorts mascot Sunsquatch to a ribbon cutting ceremony for the solar project at Harold Souther’s farm in Livermore Falls Saturday, March 26. Submitted photo

RSU 73 signed a 20-year agreement with ReVision Energy in 2019, Superintendent Scott Albert said March 25.

“We are still 20 years out,” he said. “We got our first credit from them in December 2021, it was supposed to be a whole year earlier. In talking with Tina Meserve, who was superintendent of RSU 9 and now works for ReVision, when she told me about the ribbon cutting she said, ‘[RSU 73] got the best rates because we came in early. People aren’t getting anywhere near the yield now.'”

“They needed big organizations like the schools that had consistent amounts of use of energy too,” Albert noted. “Ours might fluctuate some. We were able to show our kilowatt usage over the last four to five years.”

Albert said it was a win/win for the district and nice that it is right in town.

“The project is the first in Maine to provide most [96%] of its solar energy to public schools in the state,” according to a March 25 ReVison Energy release. “The 14,040-panel array is expected to produce roughly 6,478,200 kilowatt hours of clean energy annually, offsetting more than 6,348,000 pounds of carbon pollution from regional fossil fuel power plants each year. Maine-based ReVision Energy partnered with Aligned Climate Capital, an investment firm focused exclusively on clean solar energy and other sustainable assets, to bring the project to Western Maine.”


Camden Rockport School District (MSAD28), Camden Hills Regional High School (Five Town CSD), and Hope Elementary School (Union 69) are also participating, the release noted. It continued, “Ninety-six percent of the clean energy produced by the array will go toward offsetting the schools’ energy needs, with the remaining four percent going to Farmington Water District. Solar power generated by the array will offset the electric bills of the off-takers through Maine’s Net Energy Billing program.”

Landowners, Evelyn Norton and Priscilla Swartzlander were born in the farmhouse that still stands on the property. Their father Harold Souther, 97, was also born in the family’s generational home and still lives there. Souther ran the dairy and poultry farm for years, taking over operations from his father. The land is now leased to a neighbor and a cousin for pastureland, raising livestock, and hay production. In the fall pumpkins, squash, and cornstalk are sold.

“We think it’s a showpiece for incorporating solar while continuing farming,” Norton said as part of the release, which continued, “Her father wanted to ensure the farm will stay in the family once he is gone and saw the solar farm as a way to ensure this. The money from the leased land will allow his family to keep the property.”

A statement from U.S. Rep. Jared Golden noted, “Projects like this, which combine federal, state, and local efforts, are vital to Maine’s economic and environmental future. The towns and schools that are represented here today are taking important steps to save their taxpayer’s dollars, and also taking board steps to protect our environment and promote energy independence.

Other local water districts may decide to sign on with the project.

“If [RSU 73] can save some money that is even better,” Albert stressed. “It really was not a cost to us to do it.”

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