Solar panels. A project to install panels at the highway garage in Mount Desert has been delayed. ISLANDER FILE PHOTO

Solar panel job delayed

MOUNT DESERT — Solar panels will not be installed on the roof of the town’s highway garage this calendar year as stipulated in the town’s agreement with ReVision Energy.

“The schedule … has changed due to ReVision being flooded with work; they took on more than they could hope to complete in 2017,” Public Works Director Tony Smith said in a memo to Town Manager Durlin Lunt.

He said ReVision is now committed to installing the solar panels by the end of March.

Because the solar panels were expected to produce relatively little power during the winter months, Smith said, the delay in installing them will have very little impact on the town’s cost savings.

However, the town will miss out on the 100 percent net metering credit for solar power it puts into the electrical grid that it would have received for whatever amount of time the solar panels were operational this year. In 2018, the net metering credit is reduced by 10 percent for transmission and distribution.

Smith said ReVision has offered to compensate the town for whatever additional cost that represents.

He said in his memo to the town manager that because the town has no good alternatives and “since ReVision came to use with a problem and a proposed solution that does not negatively impact us financially, … I am very comfortable and appreciate their offer and am prepared to move forward.”

Smith said ReVision is delaying Mount Desert’s project until after the first of the year rather than bumping some of its other clients because it is easier for ReVision to compensate the town for any additional costs.

“The reason is [that] we have a power purchase agreement with them, and a large number of their other clients do not,” he said.

Under the agreement with ReVision, Mount Desert will pay nothing for the solar array for six years, but has agreed to 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, on Sargeant Drive, will consume most of the estimated 67,000 kilowatt hours of electricity that the solar panels will generate each year.

Dick Broom

Dick Broom

Reporter at Mount Desert Islander
Dick Broom covers the towns of Mount Desert and Southwest Harbor, Mount Desert Island High School and the school system board and superintendent's office. He enjoys hiking with his golden retriever and finding new places for her to swim. [email protected]

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