More than 20 Maine-based commercial and institutional organizations are reducing their energy costs and contributing to the clean energy economy through a new community solar project in Bethel, Maine. The project, which is complete and operational, was financed and is owned and operated by Standard Solar and developed in partnership with ECA Solar.
Last week, Standard Solar hosted local officials and project partners for an official ribbon-cutting event at the Bethel site.
This new solar installation brings 5.7 megawatts dc of clean energy to Mainers — supporting local jobs, contributing to the clean energy economy, strengthening the community and delivering significant cost savings to Maine businesses. The project is part of the state's Net Energy Billing (NEB) which allows Maine utility customers to offset their electric bill using the output produced by renewable energy projects, like community solar farms.
"As Maine continues its drive toward statewide clean-energy and climate-fighting goals, getting projects such as this one in Bethel completed and operational is critical," said Harry Benson, Director, Business Development, Standard Solar. "Standard Solar is proud to be part of one of Maine's first completed and operational community solar projects, and we look forward to adding more projects throughout the state to make solar energy more accessible and affordable to Mainers."
A total of 23 leading Maine commercial and institutional organizations will collectively take 100% of the Net Energy Billing Credits created by the new Bethel community solar project. These organizations include Auburn School Department, AVX Tantalum, Bowdoin College, City of Portland, Colby College, Falmouth Public Schools, L. L. Bean, Maine Community College System, Maine General Medical Center, Maine Maritime Academy, MSAD #11 Gardiner, MSAD #15 GNG, Nestle Waters North America, Northern Light Health, Pleasant River Lumber, Portland Water District, Pratt & Whitney, Pride Manufacturing, RSU #14 Windham Raymond, Scarborough School Department, University of Maine System, Waterville Public Schools and York County."ECA Solar has enjoyed working with local stakeholders to deliver this turn-key community solar project," Todd Fryatt, President, ECA Solar.
"Throughout the past two years, the Town of Bethel and the State of Maine played a key role in supporting the development and construction of this clean energy system. Among other benefits, our collective efforts were able to provide well-paying jobs using local contractors and considerable energy savings and price certainty to some of Maine's largest employers. ECA Solar is proud to be a member of the Bethel community and is optimistic about the positive impact our project will have on the area."
Legislation passed in the state in 2019 encouraged the development of community solar and other small renewable energy facilities establishing goals of 80% renewable energy by 2030 and 100% by 2050. "While there are many megawatts of community solar contracted in the state, progress to bring them online has been slow," continued Benson. "And while the first community solar farm came online in late 2020, the Bethel project remains one of the earlier projects that has been constructed and operational."
The Bethel project – and more than 45 MW in Maine – joins Standard Solar's 200+ MW portfolio of community solar projects funded and operating with partners around the United States. The company is actively seeking additional projects to fund and add to its asset portfolio.