More than 20 Maine businesses and organizations are reducing energy costs and contributing to the clean energy economy through a new community solar project in Bethel, Maine. The 5.7 MW solar panel is owned and operated by: Standard solar energy and developed in collaboration with ECA Solar.
The project is part of the state’s Net Energy Billing, which allows Maine utility customers to offset their electric bills against the output produced by renewable energy projects, such as community solar parks.
“As Maine continues its commitment to clean energy and statewide climate mitigation goals, it is critical to complete and operationalize projects like this one at Bethel,” said Harry Benson, director of business development at Standard Solar. “Standard Solar is proud to be part of one of Maine’s first completed and operational community solar projects, and we look forward to adding more projects statewide to make solar more accessible and affordable for Mainers.”
Twenty-three companies and organizations account for 100% of the net energy billing credits created by the Bethel community’s new solar energy project. These organizations include Auburn School Department, Bowdoin College, City of Portland, Colby College, Maine General Medical Center, Maine Maritime Academy, Nestle Waters North America, University of Maine System, and York County.
“ECA Solar has enjoyed working with local stakeholders to deliver this turnkey community solar project,” Todd Fryatt, President, ECA Solar. “For the past two years, the city of Bethel and the state of Maine have played a key role in supporting the development and construction of this clean energy system. Among other benefits, our combined efforts were able to provide high-paying jobs with the help of local contractors and significant energy savings and price security to some of Maine’s largest employers. ECA Solar is proud to be a member of the Bethel community and is optimistic about the positive impact our project will have in the area.”
Legislation passed in the state in 2019 encouraged the development of community solar and other small renewable energy facilities, setting statewide targets of 80% renewable energy by 2030 and 100% by 2050.
“While many megawatts of community solar power have been contracted in the state, progress to bring them online has been slow,” Benson said. “And while the first community solar park came online in late 2020, the Bethel project remains one of the earlier projects built and operational.”
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