Monday, January 8, 2018

Camden’s First Municipal Solar Array Up and Running

CAMDEN, Maine (January 5, 2018) –  The Town of Camden’s first municipal solar photovoltaic array began generating power through the grid on January 3 at noon. The 122.85 kilowatt (kW) array is anticipated to offset an estimated 159,000 kilowatt hours (kWh) of electrical energy used by the Town per year (amounting to about 7 percent of Camden’s annual electrical use in 2014). Members of the Town’s Energy and Sustainability Committee helped launch and coordinate this initiative.

This ground-mounted array consists of 351 solar panels and is located on municipally-owned land that was formerly Sagamore Farm, between Route 1 north and Camden Hills State Park, north of Sagamore Farm Road.  ReVision Energy's Lead Engineer, Hans Albee, and Operations Manager Jerod Elder braved frigid temperatures late in December to help complete ReVision’s installation by their promised deadline of December 31.

Camden signed a Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) financial structure with ReVision Energy that requires no up-front investment from the Town. Instead the Town of Camden pays ReVision monthly on the array and its electricity, at a rate comparable to the rate Central Maine Power charged in 2017 ($0.124 per kWh).  CMP increased its rates from $0.1265/kWh to $0.1388/kWh effective January 1, 2018.  ReVision Energy’s Nick Sampson explains that “while our initial projections showed the Town paying a competitive rate and staying revenue neutral in year 1, Camden will actually already experience energy savings of almost 1.5 cents a kWh in 2018, and more than $2,000 over the course of the year if rates remain the same and the system's annual production meets our expectations.”

The performance of the solar array can be monitored live online by the public through this link:

With this project, Camden continues to make considerable strides toward reducing its energy consumption and carbon footprint. Last year, thanks to the efforts of the Downtown Design Group and the Town’s investment, 52 downtown traditionally-shaped streetlights were converted to LED fixtures, which reduced those lights’ electrical consumption by 82 percent, while also significantly reducing glare and light pollution. The lights are expected to pay for themselves in just over eight years.

Camden’s Energy and Sustainability Committee continues to work on ways to reduce Camden’s carbon footprint.  Camden residents who would like to join the Committee are welcome to apply online or at the Town Office. Those interested in joining are encouraged to attend one of the Committee’s monthly meetings; the next meeting is Monday, January 22 at 5:30-7pm, at the Watershed School, 1 Free Street (corner of Mechanic). FMI 236-9878.

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