SOUTHWEST HARBOR — There are still a few shares left for those who want to invest in solar energy with the Long Pond Community Solar Farm and save on their electricity bill.
Shares of the community solar farm located on a nearly 5-acre plot of land on Long Pond Road are available to business and residential customers of Versant Power’s Bangor Hydro District in Hancock, Piscataquis and Washington counties, as well as most of Penobscot County. ReVision Energy is leasing the land from Eastern Maine Recycling (EMR), Mount Desert Island’s primary solid waste transfer station.
“It was a piece of property that EMR had no particular interest in doing anything with, now and into the future,” said Ben “Lee” Worcester, who is vice president of the company. “It’s a good project and we’re thankful to be involved with it.”
Once fully installed, the solar farm is expected to have approximately 2,200 solar panels and be able to serve about 100 member-owners.
“It’s filling up quickly, but we are happy to add new members,” said Cameron Green, a solar design specialist with ReVision Energy who is working on the community solar project. “Currently, we are basically complete with our side of the farm – building the site. We’re going to be up and running, producing electricity on Dec. 23.”
While ReVision Energy has finished the panel installation, the solar farm will not be live until Versant Power has hooked it into the grid. ReVision Energy is pushing to be online by the end of the year so that customer-members can qualify for the 26 percent federal tax credit. A 7kW share, which is the average electricity use of a family of four, is expected to be an investment of approximately $15,000 to $20,000.
“Comparing it to conventional solar on your rooftop, it is a little cheaper,” said Green, adding that it is like pre-purchasing your electricity for the next 25 years and can move with the member. “It’s tied to the electricity provider – Bangor Hydro Versant Power. It’s an asset. You can own it and you can do what you please with it.”
ReVision Energy collaborated with the MDI nonprofit A Climate To Thrive to organize and develop the community solar farm.
“The Long Pond solar farm is a big win for the island in terms of moving the island towards energy independence by 2030, reducing carbon emissions, and giving our community members an ownership-based local alternative to rooftop solar,” said Beth Woolfolk, solar coordinator for ACTT. “A large part of our mission at A Climate to Thrive is the rapid transition to renewable energy. We focus on modeling that transition in a way that builds equity for every member of our community and encourages other areas across Maine to do the same.”
ReVision Energy has signed a 35-year lease on the property on Long Pond Road. They are also working with a loan provider to assist with investing in the solar farm.
“Most of the time, we can get your loan payment lower than your monthly electricity bill,” said Green.
To find out more about becoming an owner-member of the community solar farm, contact Cameron Green at (207) 805-4266 or [email protected]