Tux Turkel of the Portland Press Herald reports on a group of homeowners who will soon be enjoying solar power production – from a solar farm array located miles away from their homes! This is an exciting development in Maine’s solar energy resource; we hope the dawn of ‘community solar farms’ will allow many more Mainers to go solar!
From the PPH:
Falling prices for solar-electric panels are enticing Mainers who want to install them at their homes. That’s not an option, however, for Jim Atwell, an environmental engineer from Falmouth. He lives in a condominium, and the homeowners’ association won’t allow a solar array on the roof.
But starting next month, Atwell will begin meeting 80 percent of his annual electric demand with solar panels – installed 50 miles away on the roof of an old chicken barn in the Oxford Hills.
Atwell will become one of nine Mainers who are shareholders in the state’s first community solar farm. The farm is a shared solar project that feeds power from the sun into the electric grid. Each member owns a slice of the total power produced and gets a credit on his electric bill. After the initial investment is repaid, the shareholders’ electricity is essentially free.
Atwell’s 12 percent share in the project is costing him roughly $14,000, and he’ll save an estimated $1,100 a year on his bill. That’s a long payback, but money isn’t his primary motivator.
“I think it’s the right thing to do,” he said. “It’s something I believe in.”