Camden, Hope, Rockport schools among five districts drawing solar power from Livermore Falls array
A recently completed solar project in Livermore Falls is the first in Maine to provide most (96%) of its solar energy to public schools in the state.
The 14,040-panel array is expected to produce roughly 6,478,200 kilowatt hours of clean energy annually, offsetting more than 6,348,000 pounds of carbon pollution from regional fossil fuel power plants each year, according to a March 22 news release from ReVision Energy.
ReVision partnered with Aligned Climate Capital, an investment firm focused exclusively on clean solar energy and other sustainable assets, to bring the project to Western Maine.
Mt. Blue Regional School District (RSU 9), Spruce Mountain School District (RSU 73), Camden Rockport School District (SAD 28), Camden Hills Regional High School (Five Town CSD), and Hope Elementary School (Union 69) have all taken steps to reduce their carbon footprint by participating as ‘off-takers’ from the array under what is called a power purchase agreement, the release said.
Ninety-six percent of the clean energy produced by the array will go to toward offsetting the schools’ energy needs, with the remaining four percent going to Farmington Water District. Solar power generated by the array will offset the electric bills of the off-takers through Maine’s Net Energy Billing program.
“We could not be more excited or proud to be participating in this cutting-edge solution to preserving farmland, reducing greenhouse gases, and saving money for our local taxpayers,” said Maria Libby, Superintendent of the Five Town CSD and MSAD 28 school districts. “It is so important for our students to learn in a place that demonstrates collaboration, sustainability leadership, and sound financial decision-making. Our participation in this clean energy project reflects the very values we are trying to impart. It is one of many things our district has done to move toward a reduced carbon footprint.”
The landowners, Evelyn Norton and Priscilla Swartzlander, were born in the farmhouse that still stands on the property. Their father Harold Souther, 97, was also born in the family’s generational home and still lives there.
Souther ran the dairy and poultry farm for years, taking over operations from his father.
The land is now leased to a neighbor and a cousin for pastureland, raising livestock, and hay production. In the fall pumpkins, squash, and cornstalk are sold.
“We think it’s a showpiece for incorporating solar while continuing farming,” said Norton.
Her father wanted to ensure the farm will stay in the family once he is gone and saw the solar farm as a way to ensure this. The money from the leased land will allow his family to keep the property.
“This project shows that smart clean energy investments can benefit local communities,” said Peter Davidson, CEO of Aligned Climate Capital. “The schools are saving money by going solar, the family farm has more income, and we are all helping solve climate change.”
“Every year Mainers export $6 billion from the local economy to import fossil fuels from away,” said ReVision Energy co-founder Phil Coupe. “Every time we build a clean energy project like the Southern Farm solar array, we keep our energy dollars here in the local economy, helping to plug that massive hole in Maine’s fiscal boat while increasing our energy independence and resilience,”
He said: “It’s important to remember that Maine has not a drop off fossil fuels under its soil, but we do have abundant renewable resources in the form of wind and solar, and a recently discovered deposit of high-grade lithium in Newry could help Maine participate in the development of the energy storage technology we need to mitigate the intermittency of renewables.”
A celebratory ribbon-cutting will take place on Saturday, March 26, at 10 a.m.
Representatives from the school districts, Farmington Water District, ReVision Energy, the landowner, Congressman Jared Golden’s office, Aligned Climate Capital, and Governor Mills’ Energy Office will be present.
Local town officials and school board members will also be in attendance.
About ReVision Energy
ReVision Energy is a 100% employee-owned solar company with offices in Montville and Portland; Brentwood and Enfield, New Hampshire; and North Andover, Massachusetts. With over 300 employee co-owners, 9,000 installations, and 19 years of experience, ReVision is New England’s leading full-service renewable energy contracting company. ReVision is a Certified B Corp with a mission to lead the community in solving the environmental problems caused by fossil fuels while alleviating economic and social injustice. Learn more at ReVisionEnergy.com.