WINDSOR — In honor of Earth Day, two organizations will receive a combined $10.5 million in loans to finance solar projects in Windsor and Washington, the U.S. Department of Agriculture announced Friday.

The funding is part of a nearly $800 million investment by the agency aimed at expanding access to clean water and energy for people living in rural areas. The central Maine projects are among 165 selected for loans or grants across 40 states.

One other Maine organization was included in Friday’s investment: 29 Brickyard LLC received a $20,000 grant to build a 49.59 kilowatt, roof-mount solar photovoltaic array in Auburn, which is expected to generate 58,058 kilowatt-hours of electricity per year.

Maxcy’s Mill Solar LLC was awarded a $5 million loan to build a ground-mounted solar project in Windsor.

The project will have 2.414-megawatts of direct current and is expected to produce 3,431,839 kilowatt-hours of electricity in the first year alone. It is also expected to create three jobs that pay an average of $30 an hour. The project has interconnection and net energy billing agreements in place with Central Maine Power Co., according to a news release from the U.S. Department of Agriculture. 

Additionally, Waldoboro Solar LLC received a $5.5 million loan to build a 2.957-megawatt, ground-mounted solar facility in Washington. This project also has interconnection and net energy billing agreements in place with CMP and is expected to create three jobs paying an average $30-an-hour wage.

Advertisement

The two loans and grant are all from the Rural Energy for America Program, which is part of the USDA and, according to the program website, “provides guaranteed loan financing and grant funding to agricultural producers and rural small businesses for renewable energy systems or to make energy efficiency improvements.”

U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack emphasized the importance of the investment, and said that people in rural America can often experience more severe droughts, more frequent wildfires and more destructive and life-threatening storms.

“When we invest in infrastructure in rural communities, we are investing in our planet, and we’re also investing in the peace of mind families will have when kids are drinking clean and safe tap water in their homes,” he said in the release. “(The Department of Agriculture) is proud to celebrate Earth Day and the many ways we are addressing climate change and investing in locally-driven solutions to bring safe water and renewable energy to people in rural areas everywhere.”

Rhiannon Hampson, the Maine director of the agency’s Rural Development branch, commended the Biden-Harris Administration for helping the state protect its environment through innovation, energy dependence, and the creation of clean jobs.

“I absolutely believe that the small changes we make every day matter,” she said, “with each one of us stepping up to do what we must to ensure a future for our state, and our children.”

Related Headlines


Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or login first for digital access. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.