MOUNT DESERT — The project to replace the town’s existing streetlights with energy-efficient LED fixtures is now in the “pilot study phase,” according to Public Works Director Tony Smith.
Several different types of LED fixtures are being considered.
They are being temporarily installed on 12 utility poles in Northeast Harbor, six on South Shore Road and six on Summit Road, and on six poles on Main Street in Seal Harbor.
“Each utility pole with an LED fixture has a green sign with a white number on it for easy identification by the public,” Smith said.
He said the town and RealTerm Energy, the contractor for the project, will hold a public meeting Thursday, May 17, “to receive feedback from the public about which fixtures they like and which they do not like.”
In addition to using less electricity than the town’s existing streetlights, the LED fixtures will be night-sky friendly, significantly reducing light pollution.
RealTerm Energy also is in talks with Bar Harbor about LED streetlights.
Solar panels ready
As soon as the state electrical inspector gives the go-ahead, the solar panels that have been installed on the roof of the town’s highway garage on Sargeant Drive can start generating power for that facility.
ReVision Energy, the town’s partner in the project, had planned to complete installation of the solar array and related equipment in March.
“The snow events put an end to those plans,” Smith said in an April 10 memo to Town Manager Durlin Lunt.
“Following the storm, the ReVision people shoveled snow up to two feet in depth off the roof so they could resume their work.”
All of the equipment has now been installed and has been inspected by power company Emera Maine. Smith said the inspectors “were very impressed with how neat the installation of the electronic equipment … inside the building was.”
Under Mount Desert’s power purchase agreement with ReVision and Emera, the town will pay nothing for the solar array for six years but will buy the power generated by the solar panels at a price comparable to local market rates. Then, at the end of six years, the town will have the option of buying the solar array from ReVision at “fair market value.”
It is anticipated that the highway garage will consume most of the estimated 67,000 kilowatt-hours of electricity that the solar panels will generate each year.