Eliot reaches for energy independence with DPW solar panels

Posted July 03, 2013, at 8:19 a.m.
Last modified July 03, 2013, at 2:11 p.m.

ELIOT, Maine — It was a day for renewable energy independence in Eliot, as 143 solar panels that were recently installed on the rooftop of a property of the Department of Public Works were officially activated at 12:30 p.m. Tuesday.

Josh Baston of ReVision Energy, the company that owns, operates and installed the 152,845 system, through a Power Purchase Agreement, said the solar panels are now connected to the Central Maine Power grid and will automatically generate significant savings for the town.

As of 2 p.m. Tuesday, the alternating current meter recorded 9 kilowatts-hours of power had been produced from the solar panels, on a rainy day no less.

“Just imagine what this can do on a sunny day, ” Baston said.

According to Baston, the project will provide cheaper electricity to some town-owned facilities; provide low maintenance on-site solar power generation; improve sustainability; lower the carbon footprint; and provides stable low-cost energy for more than 40 years.

Ben Brickett, from the The Eliot Energy Commission, the group that recommended the efficiency movement to the Board of Selectmen in 2006, said this is only the beginning.

“If all goes well, we hope to expand the project,” Brickett said. “We are looking to install a system 20 times the size of this one that will have the capability of powering all the town municipalities and a good chunk of our schools.”

Brickett added the current smaller system generates the capability of producing power for up to 10 town locations.

According to ReVision Energy, the PPA states there will be no upfront costs, nor any maintenance costs while under its ownership and the EEC says the project will reduce municipal dependence on fossil fuels, cut costs, and promote residential solar systems. ReVision Energy will provide a two-cent discount below the market electricity rate, and long-term savings from the solar system will exceed $136,000 in 30 years.

“Its great for the townsfolk who have supported this program and who will now be able to see this generate electricity,” Brickett said. “The town of Eliot is ready to see the savings.”

Distributed by MCT Information Services

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