Greenville to install wind turbine, solar panels

Posted April 08, 2010, at 10:42 p.m.

GREENVILLE, Maine — Greenville officials hope to harness the prevailing wind and thermal currents to help provide power and to heat the water in the municipal building.

The town recently was awarded a $79,000 energy conservation grant administered by the Maine Public Utilities Commission to install a 10-kilowatt wind turbine and four solar radiant thermal collectors. Plum Creek Foundation also donated $3,500 for the project. The town’s cost is about $3,000.

Brent Wakefield of PLN Conservation of Detroit, who has been consulting with town officials on the project, told selectmen Wednesday that a “residential-type” wind generator and hot water system would substantially reduce both the town’s cost and its carbon footprint. “What we’re proposing to do here is relatively small scale,” he said.

“We know specifically that you’ve got an excellent location,” Wakefield said. The amount of wind that comes across Moosehead Lake is “phenomenal.” As for the solar system, Wakefield said it would operate on sunny days as well as overcast days.

Wakefield said the turbine his business offers has a 10-year warranty and will produce 1,510 kilowatts a month with a 12 mph average wind speed.

Greenville Town Manager John Simko said locations for the wind generator, which likely will be placed on a 100-foot tower, are being researched. He also said there is a potential that emergency radio equipment could be placed on the pole without affecting the wind generation. The tower is not expected to be an issue with pilots, he noted.

But before any groundwork is done, a public hearing will be held to seek comments from residents. Before that, selectmen will decide whether to seek bids or go with Wakefield’s proposal and will firm up the details for the proposed project.

“We don’t want to proceed with a project that is not supported by the community, and we also don’t want to put in a project that won’t do what it’s intended to do,” Simko said.

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