An engineer’s rendering of the proposed 105-kW solar project on the town’s public works building and salt shed. IMAGE COURTESY OF REVISION ENERGY

Solar array planned for Southwest Harbor

SOUTHWEST HARBOR — A solar array is planned for the rooftop of the new public works building and existing salt shed on Seal Cove road, as Southwest Harbor joins other Mount Desert Island towns working with ReVision energy to produce some of the electricity it uses.

The Board of Selectmen voted last week to enter into a power purchase agreement with ReVision Energy for the installation of a 105-kilowatt grid-tied solar electric array.

Ryan Donahue recused himself from the vote because he said he is currently working with the company.

John Luft, the ReVision Energy representative who presented the agreement to the board at its April 24 meeting, estimated the project could generate 128,400 kilowatt-hours of clean solar electricity per year, which could meet close to 95 percent of the town’s electric load.

There would be no upfront cost to the town, Luft said. Instead, the array will be financed and owned by New England Impact Investor partners.

According to Luft, the town currently pays Emera 16.7 cents per kilowatt-hour. During the project’s first two years, the cost of electricity generated by the panels would be 4 cents less, at 11.7 cents. After that, the rate would increase by 2 percent every year.

The town has the option to purchase the array after five years, at an estimated cost of $157,846.

ReVision Energy has completed similar municipal projects in 22 towns across Maine. Southwest Harbor’s would be the largest array on the island, Luft said.

He added that solar production from the panels is warranted by the manufacturer for 25 years and that the useful lifespan of all the components is expected to exceed 40 years.

Separately, the Board of Selectmen approved a $9,231 proposal for two electric vehicle charging stations at the Village Green Way parking lot, west of the bathrooms.

Henriette Chacar

Henriette Chacar

Former Islander reporter Henriette Chacar covered the towns of Southwest Harbor and Tremont.
Henriette Chacar

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